The Painted Bed by Donald Hall

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To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young, we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage, that began without harm, scatters into debris on the shore, and a friend from school drops cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us past middle age, our wife will die at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces that she is temporary is temporary. The bold woman, middle-aged against our old age, sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge and affirm that it is fitting and delicious to lose everything.

About Donald Hall

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DONALD HALL, poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007, is author of String Too Short to Be Saved and more than a dozen other works of prose and poetry. His many awards include the National Medal of Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, and the 1990 Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Caldecott Medalist Mary Azarian is a consummate gardener and a skilled and original woodblock artist. Many of her prints are heavily influenced by her love of gardening, and her turn-of-the-century farmhouse is surrounded by gardens that reveal an artist's vision. Mary Azarian received the 1999 Caldecott Medal for SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. She lives, skis, and gardens in Vermont.
Published May 7, 2003 by Mariner Books. 124 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Subsequent brief stanzaic lyrics take both epigraph and method from Thomas Hardy's poems on the loss of his wife: some will please both Hardy's fans and Hall's.

| Read Full Review of The Painted Bed: Poems

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