I lie awake: no big city white noise here.
At most a late returning cyclist contests
the claims of silence, then unexpected snow,
ticking across the window panes as softly
as the ash of Europe’s history.
Most of the folk I knew
in the volunteer work camps have died,
moved on, assumed other names. I survive
fifty years later only by
a thread of memory.
My travelling clock’s unadjusted,
Ottawa time. Here it is 2 a.m.
I turn on the bedside lamp, weigh up
my assets: memories, an eye
for classical proportion, tall eighteenth century windows,
an affection for certain trees, birds, animals,
a love for this or that composer, painter, nothing
I can pass on. If I died now, who could re-assemble
the shards of my past and how could I bequeath
the simple happiness I felt
admiring old archways, courtyards, the abbey’s carillon,
or strolling beside an elegant canal? At the end of the day,
there is only the night, so little to bequeath.
- Levenson, Christopher.
Bequest.Canadian Literature 189 (2006): 49. Print.