Choice

By J. V. Cunningham 1911–1985
Allegiance is assigned   
Forever when the mind   
Chooses and stamps the will.   
Thus, I must love you still   
Through good and ill.

But though we cannot part   
We may retract the heart   
And build such privacies   
As self-regard agrees   
Conduce to ease.

So manners will repair   
The ravage of despair
Which generous love invites,   
Preferring quiet nights   
To vain delights.

J. V. Cunningham, “Choice” 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, Home Life, Men & Women, Living, Relationships, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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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SUBJECT Love, Marriage & Companionship, Home Life, Men & Women, Living, Relationships, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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