Me, I'm living under a sword too, as Jack may have told you. An old wino's disease, which could lay me in the grave most anytime. Not that I mind too much; I've done everything I ever wanted to do. But.. As you know, one would like to continue doing the good things over and over again, so long as there's pleasure in it.
She was someone who heard each grain in the hour-glass, she felt the passing seconds like sandpaper against her softest skin. Time actually seemed to hurt her, and people helped her get through it. [.] Sometimes it seemed to Nathan that her life was just that, a feat of held breath, just another ten seconds, just another five, and then death would flood her lungs like water, a string of glass bubbles to the surface and then nothing. She was scared in a way that he could understand. The kind of fear that sends you running across a six-lane highway or jumping into rapids. She was someone who ran towards her fear, screaming. Who tried to frighten it. Who, in another period of history, would have been worshipped as a saint or burned as a witch.
Do you believe that you will die? Yes, man is mortal, I am a man, ergo.. No, that isn't what I mean. I know that you know that. What I'm asking is: Have you ever actually believed it, believe it completely, believe not with your mind but with your body, actually felt that one day the fingers now holding this very piece of paper will be yellow and icy..?
You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.
I saw to the south a man walking. He was breaking ground in perfect silence. He wore a harness and pulled a plow. His feet trod his figure's blue shadow, and the plow cut a long blue shadow in the field. He turned back as if to check the furrow, or as if he heard a call. Again I saw another man on the plain to the north. This man walked slowly with a spade, and turned the green ground under. Then before me in the near distance I saw the earth itself walking, the earth walking dark and aerated as it always does in every season, peeling the light back: The earth was plowing the men under, and the space, and the plow. No one sees us go under. No one sees generations churn, or civilizations. The green fields grow up forgetting. Ours is a planet sown in beings. Our generations overlap like shingles. We don't fall in rows like hay, but we fall. Once we get here, we spend forever on the globe, most of it tucked under. While we breathe, we open time like a path in the grass. We open time as a boat's stem slits the crest of the present.
If we all knew each morning that there was going to be another morning, and on and on and on, we's tend not to notice the sunrise, or hear the birds, or the waves rolling into the shore. We'd tend not to treasure our time with the people we love. Simply the awareness that our mortal lives had a beginning and will have an end enhances the quality of our living. Perhaps it's even more intense when we know that the termination of the body is near, but it shouldn't be.
An Arundel TombSide by side, their faces blurred, The earl and countess lie in stone, Their proper habits vaguely shownAs jointed armour, stiffened pleat, And that faint hint of the absurd -The little dogs under their feet. Such plainness of the pre-BaroqueHardly involves the eye, untilIt meets his left-hand gauntlett, stillClasped empty in the other, andOne sees with a sharp tender shockHis hand withdrawn, holding her hand. They would not think to lie so long, Such faithfulness in effigyWas just a detail friends would see,A sculptor's sweet commissioned graceThrown off in helping to prolongThe Latin names around the base. They would not guess how early inTheir supine stationary voyageThe air would change to soundless damage, Turn the old tenantry away; How soon succeeding eyes beingTo look, not read. Rigidly, theyPersisted, linked, through lengths and breadthsOf time. Snow fell, undated. LightEach summer thronged the grass. A brightLitter of birdcalls strewed the sameBone-littered ground. And up the pathsThe endless altered people cameWashing at their identity. Now helpless in the hollowOf an unarmorial age, a troughOf smoke in slow suspended skeinsAbove their scrap of history, Only an attitude remains. Time has transfigured them intoUntruth. The stone fidelityThey hardly meant has come to beTheir final blazon and to proveOur almost-instinct almost-true: What will survive of us is love.