Ages ago, in hospitals. Now too. And later. Machines blink, shuffle, heave this or that matter On beds of steel or straw. One day you have arrived at the foot of this bed And find, somehow, your father, or Someone, dying—and everything shuffles And blinks to fill him, to heave the matter, Startle the phlegmy eyes that—should you even bother to leave— You’ll see through once... But you must go, you do: the breath reaches you From the bowels of his mouth: it hisses something Familiar as rotten straw, as a bed you woke in once.... it is ages ago now, and you’ve long ago left what you had to leave. Something is here, though, now, and later, and ages ago, And among a thousand thousand pinnacles of corn, it stands at a kind of attention before these paled generals of time.