By freezing passion at its blossoming
perhaps Rodin knew he challenged
Sophocles who said as lover you want
ice to be ice yet not melt
in your hands. How stone,
implying permanence, might let us believe,
a moment, the seated figures are beyond the leaf
that cannot keep from letting go the branch,
beyond even stupidly purpling grapes
that do not understand the process
by which they darken; darken nevertheless.
Reprinted by permission of the author.
Source: Poetry (February 1999).
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This poem originally appeared in the February 1999 issue of Poetry magazine