This was a poem my Dad always quoted when I was a child
Se nella verde etade alcun trascura
Di lodato sapere ornar la mente,
Quando e’ giunta per lui l’eta’ matura,
D’aver perduto un si’ gran ben si pente.
Cercalo allor, ma trovasi a man vuote:
Potea, non volle, or che vorria, non puote.
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.
My words echo
Thus, in your mind.