Take all my Loves, my Love
The cold earth slept below
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
By Christina Rossetti
The End of the Holidays
by Mark Perlberg
We drop you at O’Hare with your young husband,
two slim figures under paradoxical signs:
United and Departures. The season’s perfect oxymoron.
Dawn is a rumor, the wind bites, but there are things
fathers still can do for daughters.
Off you go looking tired and New Wave
under the airport’s aquarium lights,
with your Coleman cooler and new, long coat,
something to wear to the office and to parties
where down jackets are not de rigeur.
Last week winter bared its teeth.
I think of summer and how the veins in a leaf
come together and divide
come together and divide.
That’s how it is with us now
as you fly west toward your thirties
I set my new cap at a nautical angle, shift
baggage I know I’ll carry with me always
to a nether hatch where it can do only small harm,
haul up fresh sail and point my craft
toward the punctual sunrise.
by Ron Padgett
I am always interested in the people in films who have just had a drink
thrown in their faces. Sometimes they react with uncontrollable rage,
but sometimes—my favorites—they do not change their expressions at
all. Instead they raise a handkerchief or napkin and calmly dab at the
offending liquid, as the hurler jumps to her feet and storms away. The
other people at the table are understandably uncomfortable. A woman
leans over and places her hand on the sleeve of the man’s jacket and
says, “David, you know she didn’t mean it.” David answers, “Yes,” but
in an ambiguous tone—the perfect adult response. But now the orchestra
has resumed its amiable and lively dance music, and the room is set in
motion as before. Out in the parking lot, however, Elizabeth is setting
fire to David’s car. Yes, this is a contemporary film.
Some Woman to Some Man
by Edith Wharton
We might have loved each other after all,
Have lived and learned together! Yet I doubt it;
You asked, I think, too great a sacrifice,
Or else, perhaps, I rate myself too dear.
Whichever way the difference lies between us,
Would common cares have helped to lessen it,
A common interest, and a common lot?
Who knows indeed? We choose our path, and then
Stand looking back and sighing at our choice,
And say: “Perhaps the other road had led
To fruitful valleys dozing in the sun.”
Perhaps—perhaps—but all things are perhaps,
And either way there lies a doubt, you know.
We’ve but one life to live, and fifty ways
To live it in, and little time to choose
The one in fifty that will suit us best,
And so the end is, that we part, and say:
“We might have loved each other after all!”