Donald Hall

Poems featured on The Gladdest Thing

The Hunkering

In October the red leaves going brown heap and
over hayfield and dirt road, over garden and circular

and rise in a curl of wind dishevelled as
at recess, school just starting and summer done,

white quiet beginning in ice on the windshield, in
        hard frost
that only blue asters survive, and in the long houses
        that once

more tighten themselves for darkness and
        hunker down.

— Donald Hall



To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from shcool drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

— Donald HallĀ 

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