Immortality, another Sonnet

I met a man who said these words to me
About “immortality”: it is not what
You would expect, and it is not, you see,
A thing that starts here or there like that.
How many times could you seriously endure
A single marriage in all its complexity
What children become, the pain that is pure
The uncertain hours of waiting, perplexity?
What you say you want is a trick of memory;
Von Neumann said off the top of his head,
The brain forgets nothing in its treasury
The brain retains the bread and pain for the dead.
And then we go on, carrying this weight
Up the side of the mountain. We love what we hate.


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