There are lots of things we like, and enjoy,
But the truth of all we adore is this: what we like
Is a brief gift and distracts us from the truth
That life is painful and brief,
And pleasure dies in the arms of grief.

We knew what we liked would never last,
And this made us think we liked it more
As it made us forget the truth, underlying:
The thing loved is the thing dying.
This is why the lovers are lying.

Do you hear the thrill in my voice?
It is not because I am glad—
No, no, it is because I am sad.
If I love you, if you see me loving you like mad,
It is not because—it is not because I am glad.

I am kissing you, and you are kissing me,
As if otherwise drowning were our fate, and we
Breathe each other—for the time being, kisses being free—
As the air once was, or time, or the rolling sea,
As love once was, and nothing, you almost nothing to me.


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