Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
by Galway Kinnell.
I read somewhere once that this poem was inspired by one of Kinnell’s students who was contemplating suicide. There are certain poems and words that I always go back to, that I have imprinted in my mind. This poem does so much for me.
“The need for new love is faithfulness to the old.” Beautiful. It makes me think of losing a long time love – a spouse, a partner of many years – and having the courage to love again. Nothing that I can personally relate to, but I think of my lovely 87 year-old grandmother, whose first husband passed away when I was only 6 years old. She began dating in her sixties (can you imagine!) and met a wonderful man she’s been with for at least fifteen years now. While we know it’s never the same, it’s comforting to see that love is always possible, no matter what.
“Trust the hours.” Together, three favorite words.