Friday, July 04, 2008

The Perfect Life

Les Valeurs Personnelles
René Magritte, Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952

I have a perfect life. It isn't much,
But it's enough for me. It keeps me alive
And happy in a vague way: no disappointments
On the near horizon, no pangs of doubt;
Looking forward in anticipation, looking back
In satisfaction at the conclusion of each day.
I heed the promptings of my inner voice,
And what I hear is comforting, full of reassurance
For my own powers and innate superiority—the fake
Security of someone in the grip of a delusion,
In denial, climbing ever taller towers
Like a tiny tyrant looking on his little kingdom
With a secret smile, while all the while

Time lies in wait. And what feels ample now
Turns colorless and cold, and what seems beautiful
And strong becomes an object of indifference
Reaching out to no one, as later middle age
Turns old, and the strength is gone.
Right now the moments yield to me sweet
Feelings of contentment, but the human
Dies, and what I take for granted bears a name
To be forgotten soon, as the things I know
Turn into unfamiliar faces
In a strange room, leaving merely
A blank space, like a hole left in the wake
Of a perfect life, which closes over.

John Koethe

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