So, in Arcadia, that final scene,Two groups of characters, two centuries,Possess the stage at onceIn temporal choreography betweenAnd round each other. Quite oblivious,Each mutually spectral pair confrontsThe other's living flesh and blood, but seesNo traceOf what plays out in double time for us,Bristling perhaps for a faint twist in space. Once in a while you may experience,Or, well, imagine, some such incident,Lingering in a room,Or close location, charged with an intenseAnd living presence. You feel, arrested there,If you could find the angle and assumeThe line of sight, you'd witness them, their pentAnd pendingEnergy reel around you, and would stare,Half wishing to retreat and half intending To step into that dance and know their fate,Those thirty ghosts for each of us alive.Did not George Bernard ShawSay suffering does not accumulate,The pain of one man is the sum of pain?So pleasure. And there should be such a law.For those encounters otherwise would driveThe heartTo breaking, too much pity to contain,And, in the merging, tear the mind apart. They tell us in about two billion yearsOur galaxy and Andromeda will collide.No latter-day Big BangWill blind the sky, or blast our atmosphere'sProtective bell jar. No, they will uniteIn star-stretched emptiness and simply hangProgressively together, as they slideAroundEach other's maelstrom of conflating light,For aeons and wherever they are bound.