A Poem For Valentine’s Day


“A Renewal” by James Merrill:

Having used every subterfuge
To shake you, lies, fatigue, or even that of passion,
Now I see no way but a clean break.
I add that I am willing to bear the guilt.

You nod assent. Autumn turns windy, huge,
A clear vase of dry leaves vibrating on and on.
We sit, watching. When I next speak
Love buries itself in me, up to the hilt.

(From Collected Poems by James Merrill, edited by J.D. McClatchy and Stephen Yenser © 2001 by the Literary Estate of James Merrill at Washington University. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf. Photo by AJ Batac)