I wasn't ready to start another book right away, so I've been picking my way through poems all week, pulling out poetry I haven't touched in an age: Aram Saroyan, Billy Collins, Yeats, Ted Hughes. And Carver. It seems like there was a whole year, years ago, when I almost exclusively read Raymond Carver and Alice Munro. This is from Where Water Comes Together With Other Water
I look up and see them starting
down the beach. The young man
is wearing a packboard to carry the baby.
This leaves his hands free
so tat he can take one of his wife's hands
in his, and swing his other. Anyone can see
how happy they are. And intimate. How stedy.
They are happier than anyone else, and they know it.
Are gladdened by it, and humbled.
They walk to the end of the beach
and out of sight. That's it, I think,
and return to this thing governing
my life. But in a few minutes
they come walking back along the beach.
The only thing different
is that they have changed sides.
He is on the other side of her now,
the ocean side. She is on this side.
But they are still holding hands. Even more
in love, if that's possible. And it is.
Having been there for a long time myself.
Theirs has been a modest walk, fifteen minutes
down the beach, fifteen minutes back.
They've had to pick their way
over some rocks and around huge logs,
tossed up from when the sea ran wild.
They walk quietly, slowly, holding hands.
They know the water is out there
but they're so happy that they ignore it.
The love in their young faces. The surround of it.
Maybe it will last forever. If they are lucky.
and good, and forebearing. And careful. If they
go on loving each other without stint.
Are true to each other—that most of all.
As they will be, of course, as they will be,
as they know they will be.
I go back to my work. My work goes back to me.
A wind picks up out over the water.