Love is the loveliest thing
in its full beauty beyond compare
like the flowers of the field
it fades and lingers
but love at long last
can be dangerous:
what began as a mild interest
a prospect to be dwelt upon
in pleasurable anticipation
can become a keen longing
even a fixation
for suddenly one knows
such a rapid development
to be possible. It is a vision
given to the cool eye of the poet
not the intensity of the lover;
there is a glimpse of what happens
if this powerful impulse
like two horses held on a taut rein
by the upright charioteer
get out of hand.
I have long been aware of this potential:
in middle age I was susceptible;
at sixty I told myself
this was the decade of retirement;
at seventy it was high time to be my age.
Abandon passion. Let love be
a loving kindness. That is the best of
Now at seventy-seven there comes
a gradual awakening of the blood.
What is this? I ask myself.
You have known this before.
And I am reminded of that abstemious
old English adage: 'A little
of what you fancy does you good.'
No bugle blows a retreat, no summons
to advance. Be yourself. Think
of your grandchildren. Play it cool.
Or as they say in my day: love is all.
Take it easy.