We all see time differently, but time perceives us in one way. It pushes us forward no matter how many times we glance back, cling to the now, or make plans. Time chases us to the end of our forever, and Natalie Caro beautifully portrays this in her poem, “Untitled.”
Although the poem bears no title, it bears a truth that we all face no matter how much we try to turn away. Caro’s poem is the description of the end of our lives after “old age as worn upon us / like the gears of a clock.” She writes about how we become “shadows of ourselves in the morning sun” and ponders about how we should live our lives. Should we surround ourselves with people to love, or should we isolate ourselves so that no one would miss us? Caro doesn’t answer this question but instead sheds light on what most of us would do. We hope, for we are human. As Caro puts it, “We hope for a hand / pressing weakly upon our on feeble finger…captured in a moment; that need us.”
Time catches up to everyone in the end. Whether or not we have regrets, we tend to hope and wish for companionship so that we do not feel alone when we leave this world. We all want more time than we actually have, and we don’t mind “the impossibility of forever.” Caro reminds us how we “foolishly hope” for such a dream out of our reach. Longing and connections scatter throughout this piece, and the words are like a whisper that echoes the truth that we try to bury in the backs our minds. There are no traces of emptiness of hope—just a bittersweet moment that we all eventually face.
Here is Caro’s poem, an excerpt from Obscura’s 2nd Volume (2011, page 75):
When the frailty of old age has worn upon us
like the gears of a clock upon each other
and the tenderest and strongest parts alike
have been weathered,
leaving shadows of ourselves in the morning sun,
shall we wish to face it all alone or
should we hope, early in our youth,
to look upon a face as equally pressed upon as ours.
Should we wish to have at our bedside faded eyes
filled with love and fear;
aching, not only for our sakes but for theirs.
Should we wish for a solitary life,
one that in our passing will affect none but ourselves,
or should we hope for a hand
pressing weakly upon our own feeble fingers.
Should we want to look into eyes that long to keep us
captured in a moment; that need us,
and while understanding the impossibility of forever
never the less foolishly hope for it.