Louise Gl├╝ck

Earthly Love

Conventions of the time 
held them together.
It was a period 
(very long) in which 
the heart once given freely 
was required, as a formal gesture,
to forfeit liberty: a consecration 
at once moving and hopelessly doomed.

As to ourselves:
fortunately we diverged
from these requirements,
as I reminded myself
when my life shattered.
So that what we had for so long
was, more or less,
voluntary, alive.
And only long afterward
did I begin to think otherwise.

We are all human- 
we protect ourselves
as well as we can 
even to the point of denying 
clarity, the point 
of self-deception. As in 
the consecration to which I alluded.

And yet, within this deception,
true happiness occurred.
So that I believe I would 
repeat these errors exactly.
Nor does it seem to me 
crucial to know
whether or not such happiness
is built on illusion:
it has its own reality.
And in either case, it will end.