Too Late

Already it is too late
to start over. So many people
I’ll never be, things I won’t do.
Why list them? Soon the years ahead
will be too few in which to maneuver
and I won’t be able to lie, even to myself.
As in a cave at low tide, echoes resound,
not in the spaciousness of possibility,
but in limitation. And isn’t this good?
To say, Yes, I haven’t. That’s right,
I never did.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Too Late”?

I am embarrassed to tell you what started this poem. I studied Spanish in high school, when I lived in New York City. Now that I live in Canada I regret not knowing French. I promise myself I’ll take a class, but I haven’t yet. This regret was the trigger for writing the poem! But, of course, that’s not what the poem is ultimately about.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Too Late”?

I use metaphor. But the poem came alive for me when I flipped the mood at the end from “already it’s too late” to “Isn’t this good?” There is a certain spaciousness and confidence in acceptance.

This poem “Too Late” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 177 (Summer 2003): 11-11.

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