If it’s love, and if, as you say, it’s ridiculous,
Then I suppose it must be love — since I have been love’s fool
And still might be. It seems I have failed
To surprise myself once again; once again I am here
With this unfamiliar heart and these unfamiliar words.
I know what you mean, of course: some words are a waste of time.
They carry too much weight given our limitations
Which, thankfully, we have come to recognize. Love dies,
Love wanes, etc. and what of life’s multiplicity! What of it?
A disguise word (what word isn’t?), a mere symbol.
Such a word hands us over to the greeting cards.
Such a word is food for academics.
If one can be free, why should one be courtly?
Love’s fool, my love, I speak but of my nature, saying,
“I’ll settle for your heart, sweet, and nothing else.”
Forgive me. This should not be said in a time of saturation,
When weighty dogs crow moonwards,
Not in hunger and longing, the old facts of passion,
But out of boredom and modest appraisal. I am guilty
Of bad taste, as if one, dining with friends,
Refused what was offered, what was available,
For the unserved possibilities of what was desired.
Even a fool with a foolish heart knows what’s up:
Love is up, making way for something more organized,
Like flattery, perhaps, the queen’s midnight drug
(Or even oil for the less cynical
Who dream gently among smooth hinges
And legs and deals of a seventh dull day).
Who needs fever, anyway, this neurotic malady
Of the senses, when it’s ours to take mostly what we want,
And to leave, without confusion, what we don’t end up getting?
Losing love we may lose our best dreams,
But we are calmer, less lost, and of course, busier.
Even I who have ridden proudly with the prince
Cannot fool myself much longer. The wings are clipped,
Bow broken, and the arrow a rubber device
Made to amuse children. I say I love you
And hear the words echo among empty seats.
A political leader says, “Cut your losses,” and I agree.
No sense in being a fool other than love’s.
Eyes, ears, tears, moon-children moon-flowering
I was a perfect fool a long time ago and sang
Wise songs to girls under the ridiculous moon.