The first law of psychodynamics states:
emotion cannot be created or
destroyed, although conversion can take place.
The arrogant elation of the clouds
when lightning strikes the ridge behind the house
is thus transformed to terror in the heart,
and painful deep-abiding discontent
becomes the melancholy melting snow.
In this we find equations we can solve.

And we are reprieved: the second law makes
the arrow of love irreversible.
Through chaos and fragmentation, feelings
become dispersed, resulting in hate death.
The fiery zeal of students in cafés
decays to middle-aged indifference,
and passions of a summer’s night are now
the comfort of an armchair by the stove.

And so must everything deteriorate.
The end of youth brings hope for us: with luck
the dreadful apprehension of the self
dissolves in time to ink and rags, the mere
complacency of words upon a page.

February 29, 1996

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