In New Zealand poet Lauris Edmond's "Waterfall," a speaker muses on the way that time and aging shape love and relationships. The poem suggests that the inevitability of death imbues the present moment with its intensity and passion, and that people experience the preciousness of life and love more acutely as they age. "Waterfall" first appeared in Edmond's 1975 collection In Middle Air.
I do not ...
... of the waterfall
in which I ...
... fast, fast falling.
I do not ...
... spices the air
moss, crushed, gives ...
... if for ever.
It is enough ...
... that are shrewd
but trustful still, ...
... conversation, without nostalgia.
But when you ...
... dark pool below.
Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
An Interview with Edmond — Read a 1982 interview with Lauris Edmond in which she discusses her life and work.
Edmond's Reception — Read a 1985 review of Edmond's Selected poems to learn more about how her work was received during her lifetime.
An Edmond Reading — Watch Edmond reading her poetry aloud.
Edmond's Legacy — Read an obituary of the poet that talks about her life and legacy.
A Short Biography — Learn more about Lauris Edmond in this biography from ReadNZ.
1I do not ask for youth, nor for delay
2in the rising of time's irreversible river
3that takes the jewelled arc of the waterfall
4in which I glimpse, minute by glinting minute,
5all that I have and all I am always losing
6as sunlight lights each drop fast, fast falling.
7I do not dream that you, young again,
8might come to me darkly in love's green darkness
9where the dust of the bracken spices the air
10moss, crushed, gives out an astringent sweetness
11and water holds our reflections
12motionless, as if for ever.
13It is enough now to come into a room
14and find the kindness we have for each other
15— calling it love — in eyes that are shrewd
16but trustful still, face chastened by years
17of careful judgement; to sit in the afternoons
18in mild conversation, without nostalgia.
19But when you leave me, with your jauntiness
20sinewed by resolution more than strength
21— suddenly then I love you with a quick
22intensity, remembering that water,
23however luminous and grand, falls fast
24and only once to the dark pool below.