Two Ways Of Love

Alice Corbin

Why do you want to leave me, if you love me?–
                          Because I must,
The years will turn our lips and love to ruin,
                              Beauty to dust.

Better to leave you while the world's a symbol
                             Of this bright fire,
So shall old age find brilliant and untarnished
                             Our love's desire.

Ah, no, the flame is nothing! For the forest
                            Took years to grow,
And in the ashes is the truth of beauty,
                            And this I know.

The bud is lovely, but the tree in winter,
                            Though stark and bare,
Knows all the earth knows, and no love is perfect
                             Without despair.

Too bright, too new, too shallow, and unconscious
                            Is young love's heat,
Give me the love that knows the bitter wisdom
                           Of love's defeat-
Give me the love that grows through time's own
                          More hard, more sweet.

Alice Corbin was an American poet, author, and poetry editor.
Originally published:
January 1, 1921


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