The July 4th issue of the The New Yorker — of course I’m behind, it’s The New Yorker — runs a beautiful poem by Clive James. This is part of it; you can read the rest on Clive James’s web page, at the link below.
Portrait of Man Writing
While you paint me, I marvel at your skin.
The miracle of being twenty-four
Is there like a first blush as you touch in
The blemishes that make my face a war
I’m losing against time. So you begin,
By lending inwardness to an outline,
Your life in art as I am ending mine.
Try not to miss the story my mouth tells,
Even unmoving, of how once it had
The knack for spinning yarns and casting spells,
And had to make an effort to seem sad.
These eyes that look as crusty as dry wells
Despite the glue they seep, once keenly shone.
Give them at least a glimmer of what’s gone.
[ ... ]
But do we credit beauty even when
It’s there in front of us? It stops the heart.
The mortal clockwork has to start again,
Ticking towards the day we fall apart,
Before we see now all we won’t have then.
Exquisite. Read the whole thing here.