"Birthday Present" by May Sarton

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Renewal cannot be picked
Like a daffodil
In a swift gesture,
Cannot be cut like a pussy willow
And brought into the house.
It cannot even be imagined
Like the blue sky
We have not seen for days.

But we can be helped toward it.
True love gave me time,
Gave me, for myself alone,
This whole open day
We would have spent together.

True love gave me this—
Harder to find
Than a hummingbird’s nest,
Rare as the elusive
Scent of arbutus
Under sodden leaves,
More welcome than a cup
Of spring water
After long drought.

I hold it in my hands,
I breathe it in,
I drink it,
While fifty-nine years
Of ardor and tenderness,
Of struggle and creation—
The whole complex bundle—
Falls away in a streak of light
Like a shooting star,
As the soul,
Unencumbered,
Alive, ageless,
Meets the pristine moment:
Poetry again.