Thursday, February 14, 2013

a love story

Back in December of 2006, a friend shared with me the article in The New Yorker titled Santa Secrets, written by Patricia Marx.  Christmas was approaching and Marx wrote a very clever piece on the pain of last-minute gift shopping with many real and most amusing suggestions for what you might get anyone on your list. 

I quite enjoyed that article but it was a poem, a freestanding, unrelated poem, which jumped off a page where the article had continued, and which turned out, in my eyes, to be a gift itself, a life-long gift and today I'd like to share it with you.

It's a love story; raw truth told of true love. 

Looking Back In My Eighty-First Year
Instead of marrying the day after graduation
in spite of freezing on my father's arm as
here comes the bride struck up,
saying, I'm not sure I want to do this,

I should have taken that fellowship
to the University of Grenoble to examine
the original manuscript
of Stendhal's unfinished "Lucien Leuwen,"
I, who had never been west of the Mississippi,
should have crossed the ocean
in third class on the Cunard White Star,
the war just over, the Second World War
when Kilroy was here, that innocent graffito,
two eyes and a nose draped over
a fence line. How could I go?
Passion had locked us together.
Sixty years my lover,
he says he would have waited.
He says he would have sat
where the steamship docked
till the last of the pursers
decamped, and I rushed back
littering the runway with carbon paper. . .
Why didn't I go? It was fated.
Marriage dizzied us. Hand over hand,
flesh against flesh for the final haul,
we tugged our lifeline through limestone and sand,
lover and long-legged girl.

Looking Back In My Eighty-First Year
Maxine Kumin
The New Yorker, December 11, 2006, page 64

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