The Lightness

So typical of all our tinkering,
This golden age of postponing
The inevitable has its brimstone
Lining: everyone dies a burden.
This terminus, once usual, now
Near-universal, casts its grim
Light on the grief and the relief
Of any survivor, who would not be
Human had he not at least once felt,
Had he not supposed, nor projected
The lightness of his arm, without
That bag. And I must say, my dear,
You transmitted the mildest strain
Of this romantic disease—symptoms,
Mainly, unexpected bursts of crying
In the arms of some random girl—
Which bouts, though phenomena
Of guilt, read pleasantly as loyalty.
Or are they both the same thing?
Glendower could call his spirits
From the deep; I bade one spirited
Lady mark, if she do find you
In that other land, not to forget
To ask where you put the kids’
Passports—I thought I knew, but
I was wrong. To be frank, once
You had been a better secretary.
It does seem to take some energy.
No one would marry a liability, but
Who believes in oaths and vows,
Promises secured on sacred books,
In the modern Sahara of the soul?
In middle age, post Brennschluss,
“The rocket subject only to
External forces,” thrown high
Into the cold ozone blue by
Stages we no longer possess,
We soar and preen, we marry
On the way up; we buy and sell
On calculated positive velocity;
Orbit still belongs to the angels.
Everyone in the world will peak.
Everyone will have to be a ruin.
Contracts, a lawyer once told me,
Are “not for the honeymoon, but
For the divorce.” Every husband
And wife will be married to a ruin,
A property completely without value—
Indolent, with swollen legs, not even
Capable of organizing important papers.
Beaus and belles must force themselves
To project their partners in decay:
The question is not if they will fall
But how, and with what grace. Here
Too you pose a casual masterpiece.
Criticized for such lightness, I
Am not a mime in the wind; you
Would cringe to see me bearing
The slightest of any real weight—
Much less some affected anvil.