Profils Perdus



It does not matter if in Rome that fall

You, leaning on the rail of the balcony,

Watched a young woman pace the yard below,

Her parasol

Now raised, now shouldered. Nor need you feel, see,

More in the sudden rain which, in Marseilles,

Forced you into that church than the stained glass,

Or the four white candles, or the vast stillness,

Or the way

The marble echoes rippled through the Mass.

Nostalgia is your last, your perfect, fate.

In the vague wash of circumstance, you know

That any instant can in you assume

All the weight

And feeling of the absolute. And so,

What matters, simply, is that you contain

Both past and future; that sometime, somewhere,

You will yourself become the moment – an

Indefinite rain,

A profile disappearing in the air.

From Uncertainties and Rest, 1979