Franklin Reeve and Seamus Heaney
They slip away, who never said goodbye,
My vintage friends so long depended on
To warm deep levels of my memory.
And if I cared for them, care has to learn
How to grieve sparingly and not to cry.
Age is an exercise in unconcern,
An anaesthetic, lest the misery
Of fresh departures make the final one
Unwelcome. There’s a white indemnity
That with the first frost tamps the garden down.
There’s nothing we can do but let it be.
And now this you and now that he is gone,
There’s less and less of me that needs to die.
Nor do those vacant spaces terrify.