Who do you love?
A poet and translator illuminates five heart-stopping moments.
by W. S. Merwin
Love, in whatever sense of the word we please, must surely be the principal theme of poetry. Even poems of loss and grief come to exist, almost always, because of the loss of, and the grieving for, someone or something—some moment or age or place that was once loved and is loved still. The friendships, marriages, and the relatively few love affairs mentioned in Chinese poetry, either lost or hoped for, and the landscapes presented there, are figures of each poet’s—and so of each reader’s—life and feeling. They evoke its evanescence, its fragility, its unique, irreplaceable character. Those feelings are present in every kind of love poetry.
Happy Thanksgiving! On this day of reflection lets remember who we write for and about. Who do you love? If you’re interested in reading more of this essay check it out on Poetry Foundation.