To My Wife

By J. V. Cunningham 1911–1985
And does the heart grow old? You know   
In the indiscriminate green
Of summer or in earliest snow
A landscape is another scene,

Inchoate and anonymous,
And every rock and bush and drift   
As our affections alter us
Will alter with the season’s shift.

So love by love we come at last,
As through the exclusions of a rhyme,   
Or the exactions of a past,
To the simplicity of time,

The antiquity of grace, where yet   
We live in terror and delight   
With love as quiet as regret   
And love like anger in the night.

J. V. Cunningham, “To My Wife” from The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams. Copyright © 1960 by J. V. Cunningham. Reprinted with the permission of Ohio University Press/Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.

Source: The Exclusions of a Rhyme: Poems and Epigrams (Alan Swallow Press, 1960)

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Poet J. V. Cunningham 1911–1985

Subjects Love, Marriage & Companionship, Time & Brevity, Men & Women, Living, Relationships, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated

Occasions Anniversary

Biography

J. V. Cunningham, poet, critic, editor, and general man of letters, gained the high regard of his literary colleagues for his concise, witty, epigrammatic poetry. In a 1961 study, The Poetry of J. V. Cunningham, his mentor Yvor Winters called him "the most consistently distinguished poet writing in English today, and one of the finest in the language." About the same time, Thom Gunn wrote in a Yale Review article on The . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Marriage & Companionship, Time & Brevity, Men & Women, Living, Relationships, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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