John Sawkins

Last Love

Love is the loveliest thing
in its full beauty beyond compare
like the flowers of the field
it fades and lingers
but love at long last
can be dangerous:
what began as a mild interest
a prospect to be dwelt upon
in pleasurable anticipation
can become a keen longing
even a fixation 
for suddenly one knows
such a rapid development
to be possible.  It is a vision
given to the cool eye of the poet
not the intensity of the lover;
there is a glimpse of what happens
if this powerful impulse
like two horses held on a taut rein
by the upright charioteer
get out of hand.
I have long been aware of this potential:
in middle age I was susceptible;
at sixty I told myself
this was the decade of retirement;
at seventy it was high time to be my age.
Abandon passion. Let love be
a loving kindness. That is the best of it.

Now at seventy-seven there comes
a gradual awakening of the blood.
What is this? I ask myself.
You have known this before.
And I am reminded of that abstemious
old English adage: 'A little
of what you fancy does you good.'
No bugle blows a retreat, no summons
to advance. Be yourself. Think
of your grandchildren. Play it cool.
Or as they say in my day: love is all.
Take it easy.



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