It's hard to figure out what pain
might turn out in the future to be 
just ordinary, garden-variety pain, 
and which one prelude to the great 
happiness or unhappiness a fortune-
teller long ago said was surely 
ahead. But should knowing change
the texture or feeling of each instance, 
or draw a brighter intensity around 
itself? When you look back,
you realize how cool the grass felt
against the soles of your feet, how blue
the sheen of snail shell on a leaf; how quiet
the moon's rising so that a clock striking 
the hour on a steeple was merely repeating 
the only numbers it knew— not a knell 
calling in all the boats, all the birds 
come back to roost, all the fading
pleasures of the world.


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