Love Is the Poorest Student of the Sciences

(Written on the Outskirts of Valley Forge)

Behind the burned-out hills that stand
Where cold shook Washington’s command
Until he nearly lost this land,
Sundown cools. Just over it,
On a dark sky looking infinite,
An uninhabited world is lit
Millions of miles from where I sit.
A few hundred miles, mere millions of feet,
Around the corner of my street,
The house where you live is lit, but my head
Is blind with the distance that you’ve fled
And I can’t see the house, though, coming to,
My stunned life gropes the road for you
The external facts for why I see
Venus, of much less love to me
Than your world which I cannot find,
Though it turns and turns in my sunless mind,
Are in the schoolbooks, but I’d rather
The inside story that all other
Distances shrink before the kind
Where love leaves former love behind.
Reason may feel superior
To the ignorance of my metaphor
For loss and longing. I only know
I remember your loveliness long ago
And the joy with which it comforted me
Who write this now. I only see
That in spite of love and all of its sad
And blustering defiances
Of the evil which thieves away what it had,
I can’t see the house that you’ve tenanted
Yet see a more distant world that’s dead
And none of our modern reliances–
Geography, physics, astronomy–no
Instructions from all the sciences
Explain to me how this is so.

–August 16, 1987

(“Love Is the Poorest Student of the Sciences” was published in the June-July 2002 issue of Advocate, Prattsville NY.)

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Published on December 12, 2006 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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