What do we need for love—a midnight fire
Flinging itself by fistfuls up the chimney
In soft bright snatches? Do we need the snow,
Gentle as silence, covering the scars
Of weeks of hunger, years of shabby having?
Summer or winter? A heaven of stars? A room?
The smiling mouth, the sadness of desire
Are everywhere the same. If lovers go
Along an unknown road, they find no less
What is familiar. Let them stay at home,
And all will still be strange. This they know
Who with each heartbeat fight the fear of change.
Babette Deutsch, “Need” from The Collected Poems of Babette Deutsch (New York: Doubleday, 1969). Reprinted with the permission of Michael Yarmolinsky.
Source: The Collected Poems
(Random House Inc., 1969)