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For Love Nor Money

Every object, rests on its certain devaluation/In the implacable fact of an ending—decay,/Dissolution, death—from which another/New thing and its solicitation emerges.”

What use this new extravagance of foliage—

Color in the lips—feathers spread on the air—

Bees on the flowerhead over there? All these—

Your own youth too—have been bought

With and into a currency of no appreciable

Worth, and each will be redeemed

At some moment of compulsion as having

No intrinsic or remaining value, becoming 

Something that once was, another token

Of waste in time, failure of desire, possession.


There can be here no secure investment, 

But always anticipation of ultimate forfeit,

An outcome obvious from the start: 

And the longing for a seeming value

In things greater than the physically given—  

To gamble on this—is to wager the whole

Position to ruin, for to treasure what is surplus—

Beauty alight in the eyes, the purity of a morning—

Is a bargain with total unavoidable loss, 

Dispossession of the surfeit along with the real.


So the tenderness of feeling encompasses

The fragility of every known thing 

Together with all that is human—the response 

To beauty, to nature, acts of care, the commitment 

Of devotion, the enrichment in the gift 

Of loving, being loved—every such venture,

Every object, rests on its certain devaluation

In the implacable fact of an ending—decay,

Dissolution, death—from which another 

New thing and its solicitation emerges.


Perhaps the cycling of money, the ubiquity 

Of purchase and sale, the brief inflation of this 

Or that asset, would be image enough 

For life, all being, in its manifest materiality: 

Thing after thing, person after person, appearing, 

Disappearing, in exchange of one good 

For another? So it would if everything 

Which is—with all that is desired, held close— 

Were of value only in trading, and the surface 

Of the earth merely the floor of a stock exchange.


Harold Jones is a New Zealander, who was educated at Cambridge University, where he was awarded an Exhibition to read English. His poetry has been widely published in literary journals in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and it has won the acclaim of pre-eminent critics and poets: among them, Ted Hughes, who wrote, “I hear a real voice, a real movement of mind cutting through resistances.” In the United States, his poems appear in Merion West and VoegelinView.

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