Tell me is this who you are:
a city atop a high mountain,
with people who sleep and wake and
sleep and wake with no sympathy,
flower festivals in spring and warm air
crawling up your thighs come nighttime
and the floods the typhoons bring
cannot touch you this high.
Last November you heard her say the
world is a cruel place, but no one saw you nod your head,
close your eyes. No one seems to understand
that you are too young
To carry the universe on both shoulders
While treading tiredly through the heat of the sun
golden sand on your feet til the jealous moon
Rises up again, stealing the light in its wake.
There were labyrinths inside your mind, your bones,
And when you sleep you wander lost in them,
while ruins and dead bodies surround your path
and you think, this is not home
and you think, this is not who I am,
and for so long you search for exits out of yourself
that you know are not there.
— Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky
Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.
— Mark Strand, closing lines to “The End,” from The Continuous LIfe: Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992)