Robert Bly, “When We Became Lovers”
Do you laugh or cry when you hear the poet sing?
“Out of the first warmth of the spring, and out
Of the shine of the hemlocks…” It’s the hemlocks, then,
Swaying above the grasses in the cemetery,
That encourage us in our affair with the world,
We have secret meetings with moss at night.
When the night-singer sang, did you notice the mice
Going by? They leave tracks like the setting stars.
Haven’t you heard the grunting of the hollyhocks,
Bringing forth their hairy life by the widow’s door?
Gravestones gather up stray tufts of time
That wind would otherwise scatter in the fields.
You and I have been in love with the moon
Rising for a long time, ever since the day
Our mothers took our hands in the spring field.
That was the day we heard the cry of the hemlocks.
We became lovers then; and our road was decided.
We laughed and cried over the warmth of the spring.