Taking Pleasure

“Love? Nothing simpler,” murmured the goddess —
and all my carefully husbanded breath
escaped me. Oh you may well imagine
the way things went, sprawling among cushions,
dozing away a dozen afternoons
thirsty for more kisses, a sweet lout
hitting the lottery on his first try,
scrawling the one poem that will make his name.
Each soul locks up its half-forgotten story
telling for instance how we worked our way
through twiggy thickets past crags of appetite
toward the one clearing where somebody will listen.
Which of us knows how you may “change your life,”
rip off the gloves of labor and breathe easy?
No way. With miles to run to get to the finish,
no one can balance accounts. The flower bed’s
unweeded, nothing in flower, either about-
to-bloom or just-gone-past-its-best. The dream
we thirst for is the thought of a green shade
where somebody else has finished up the chores
and the result is us:
a catch in the breath, the ripple of desire,
a mother’s murmur to her favorite child.
After the faltering of ordinary daylight
the rainbow casts its colors, no one asking.
—Peter Davison