The way boxers postulate a feeling to label that with which they overcome
the body’s vile fears,
its wish to flinch, to flee, break and run . . . they call it anger, pride,
the primal passion to prevail;
the way, before they start, they glare at one another, try to turn themselves
to snarling beasts . . .
so we first make up something in the soul we name and offer credence
to—”meaning,” “purpose,” “end”—
and then we cast ourselves into the conflict, turn upon our souls, snarl
like snarling beasts . . .
And the way the fighters fight, coolly until their strength fails, then desperately,
wildly, as in a dream,
and the way, done, they fall into one another’s arms, almost sobbing with
relief, sobbing with relief:
so we contend so we wish to finish, wish to cry and end, but we never
cry, never end, as in a dream.
from Selected Poems
Harper Collins, 1994