Waggish

Birthday Cheer from Laura Riding

Growth

The change of self in wide address of self
To use of self in the kind wideness
Of sense-experience: this loses,
Though memory has
One lasting integration–
The steady growth of death.

And so the habit of smile alters.
And so the hair in a new parting falls.
Can recognition be
Past loss of hour-by-hour identity?
Where is the self that withered
And the self that froze?
How do the rising days succeed to vacancy?

The days are in a progress
As death in a steady growth,
From no to no and yes.
And from there to there and here
Needs no more proof or witness
Than the legs that stopped.
And if the legs themselves have doubt,
Self will the progress prove
With progress, the legs will move,
The smile alter, the hair
In a new parting relapse,
And the mind pause upon
A more mature perhaps.

     –Laura Riding

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