The chiastic structure of the opening line of this poem belies and, simultaneously, underlines the message the poet intends to convey: chiastic structures generally indicate to the reader that the two concepts balanced in the structure are indeed opposites. Here, "Life, death; death, life" are demarcated as directly opposing concepts which lend balance to each other, but the poet goes on to express that this is only how the ideas have been perceived "for ages." These words, he says, have "led...our consciousness" for a length of time so indiscriminately long that he describes it only as "ages," or ages of man. And yet, in this opening statement, the poet suggests we have been led wrongly into the belief that the concepts are opposites, when in fact this is only how they "seemed," but is not the truth. Death and life, he goes on to say, are rather accompaniments to each other, with death not symbolizing the end or absence of life, but simply a part of human existence. For "ages" it has been feared, when in reality, throughout these "ages," billions of humans have experienced death as a natural process, of which we should not be afraid.