It is tempting,
in the thick of middle age
When you begin to feel
the sands of your time running out
to think of the things that you have not done,
the ways that you have not walked,
the chances passed up,
the time wasted,
the clangers dropped.
Today, even on a grey day
when summer is newly over
I shall not do that.
I have looked out at a shining blue sky
in the high Andes,
surrounded by volcanoes
and dreamed of condors.
I have stood in a darkened school playground
behind huge, burning iron gates
and spoken words that a Polish theatre director
told me were like honey to his heart.
I have balanced on the hard metal seat
of a reaping machine behind two heavy horses
and reaped corn single-handed
in the heart of the English countryside.
I have seen Robert Stephens
walk forward through a torrent of rain
at the end of his strength in both life and art
to play the storm scene in King Lear with magnificence.
I have waded barefoot in sparkling water
watching as tiny, coloured coral fishes
and scuttling hermit crabs
surrounded my shrinking feet.
I have stood in the heart of a great city,
seen my name on a gallery wall
and waited quietly
to watch people read my words.
And I have seen the world
which I thought I knew transformed in a single moment
when someone told me that they loved me
for the first time.