The following poems by C. H. Sisson and Philippe Jaccottet share the same closing image. They perhaps have other things in common as well: time and aging and memory, for instance. Both poems are somewhat elusive (for me, at least). However, they certainly sound lovely (as I often say when confronted with such difficulties).
If I had done differently I should have done well;
Differently is better, it could not have been worse.
I cannot stand, looking, as into a fire,
Into the past. There is only the charred wood.
C. H. Sisson, Exactions (1980).
The older I grow the more ignorant I become,
the longer I live the less I possess or control.
All I have is a little space, snow-dark
or glittering, never inhabited.
Where is the giver, the guide, the guardian?
I sit in my room and am silent; silence
arrives like a servant to tidy things up
while I wait for the lies to disperse.
And what remains to this dying man
that so well prevents him from dying?
What does he find to say to the four walls?
I hear him talking still, and his words
come in with the dawn, imperfectly understood:
'Love, like fire, can only reveal its brightness
on the failure and the beauty of burnt wood.'
Derek Mahon (translator), Words in the Air: A Selection of Poems by Philippe Jaccottet (The Gallery Press 1998).