It might have been that he was near death.
Certainly foreign languages became
easier to understand.
One day he felt, looking at the Greek
text of the Iliad,
that he could in fact read there
about fires burning around a war,
about starts brittle in the sky
jiving under a fine full moon.
It was some consolation,
like Mahler, or riding a bicycle.
Then he could understand
even when people werent talking
& one day admired a shapely young
woman getting out of a car
& was suddenly overcome with her grief
even before he saw the sick
little girl she helped out, & the bleak
doctor's doorway beyond the Plymouth.
Her shape told me she was sad,
he thought, & then he allowed his thought
to make love to her & her sadness both
while he drove up the highway towards
it must be death it is so empty & so kind.
--Robert Kelly, from this