Love craved and despised and necessary

This, from Bidart’s fantastic 2008 collection Watching the Spring Festival, which, like all of Bidart’s work, I cannot recommend highly enough.

Frank Bidart: Valentine

How those now dead used the word love bewildered
and disgusted the boy who resolved he

would not reassure the world he felt
love until he understood love

Resolve that too soon crumbled when he found
within his chest

something intolerable for which the word
because no other word was right

must be love
must be love

Love craved and despised and necessary
the Great American Songbook said explained our fate

my bereft grandmother bereft
father bereft mother their wild regret

How those now dead used love to explain
wild regret

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