Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Dance

I would have each couple turn,
join and unjoin, be lost
in the greater turning
of other couples, woven
in the circle of a dance,
the song of long time flowing

over them, so they may return,
turn again in to themselves
out of desire greater than their own,
belonging to all, to each,
to the dance, and to the song
that moves them through the night.

What is fidelity? To what
does it hold? The point
of departure, or the turning road
that is departure and absence
and the way home? What we are
and what we were once

are far estranged. For those
who would not change, time
is infidelity. But we are married
until death, and are betrothed
to change. By silence, so,
I learn my song. I earn

my sunny fields by absence, once
and to come. And I love you
as I love the dance that brings you
out of the multitude
in which you come and go.
Love changes, and in change is true.

Credit


Copyright © 2012 by Wendell Berry, from New Collected Poems. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint.

Author


Wendell Berry

Poet, essayist, farmer, and novelist Wendell Berry is the author of more than thirty books.

Date Published: 2016-08-15

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/dance-0