This marks my second annual posting of poetry around Valentine's Day.
You might notice that the flowery, "read at your wedding" types of poems are never my favorites. This was actually a problem recently, when I was looking for material to be read my own nuptials-- all the literary things I truly like are melancholy! (We ended up not having any readings at all.)
But, I can only hope that the stripped-down expressions I favor resonate with those who are weary of all the lovey-dovey stuff that abounds at this time of year.
Tonight I'm sharing a longtime favorite from Mark Strand, first published in the October 20, 1997 issue of the New Yorker. Maybe it'll encourage one of you dear readers to make a much-needed move (romantically, socially, career-wise, whatever) well before "the moment it serves no purpose at all."
by Mark Strand
As for the poem the Adorable One slipped into your pocket,
Which began, "I think continually about us, the superhuman, how
We fly around saying, 'Hi. I'm So-and-So, and who are you?'"
It has been years since you bothered to read it. But now
In this lavender light under the shade of the pines the time
Seems right. The dust of a passion, the dark crumble of images
Down the page are all that remain. And she was beautiful,
And the poem, you thought at the time, was equally so.
The lavender turns to ash. The clouds disappear. Where
Is she now? And where is that boy who stood for hours
Outside her house, learning too late that something is always
About to happen just at the moment it serves no purpose at all?