The Suitor by Jane Kenyon

4cdae-kenyon

We lie back to back. Curtains
lift and fall,
like the chest of someone sleeping.
Wind moves the leaves of the box elder;
they show their light undersides,
turning all at once
like a school of fish.
Suddenly I understand that I am happy.
For months this feeling
has been coming closer, stopping
for short visits, like a timid suitor.

–Jane Kenyon

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Chaucer: We goon wrong ful often, trewely

(Chaucer, from the Ellesmere Manuscript)

Surely we do not know exactly what we pray for; we behave like a man as drunk as a mouse. A drunk man knows very well that he has a home, but he does not know the right way to it; in addition, the road is slippery for a drunk man. Certainly, in the world we behave similarly. We try hard for happiness, but we very often go wrong.

–Chaucer, “The Knight’s Tale.” His Middle English verse, followed by R. M. Lumiansky’s prose modern English translation