Each night when I put out the light
And move to the passage door
The dog runs ahead of me
Bounds up the stairs
Jumps on the bed
Settles down for the night.
This is one of my certainties,
Predictable as the fall of darkness.
I know the dog will never round on me
With a dusty answer.
Lord, give us but few certainties.
To know the future would be to know
We are more or less than men,
The loneliness of the displaced angel,
The fool’s contentment. Hopes and fears
Are healthful, keep us humble, keep us
Watchful. The Fall goes before
Our pride, wrecking the satisfied stance,
The fool-proof scheme. We are not yet ready
For mastery, for the dazzling truth
At the road’s end, the unimagined delight.
But give us the few certainties,
And replace them when they pass.
One day the dog will look wistfully up the stairs,
Too old and stiff to climb them.
One day he will not be there.