TOPICS > Arts

A Valentine’s Day Poem

February 14, 2000 at 12:00 AM EST

TRANSCRIPT

ROBERT PINSKY: Valentines, and the feelings that go with them, do not belong to any one stage of life. People of every age have romantic feelings, though the nature of those feelings may vary with age. Comparing love when young and old is the theme of Robert Frost’s poem, “To Earthward”:

TO EARTHWARD

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things
The flow of — was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Down hill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough.
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.