Love Recidivus

By Lisa Barnett Lisa Barnett
Whatever it may be, we may suppose
it is not love, for love must leave its trace
like contraband seized and displayed in rows;
is not sufficient reason to erase

the careful lives we have so far lived through—
there is no call for us to undermine
the walls we've built; no need to think anew
of all the chains and choices that define

us still. And yet for all our fine intent
a single touch ignites the night and tries
resolve past all resisting. What we meant
before we mean again; fidelities

have yet been known to shift and come undone
and all good reasons fail us, one by one.

Source: Poetry (September 2003).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

September 2003
 Lisa  Barnett

Biography

Lisa Barnett attended Brandeis and took an M.S. from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University. Her work has appeared in The New Criterion, Hellas, The Formalist, and other journals. She has been a semi-finalist for the Discovery/The Nation Award and a finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Relationships, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Simile

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.