“Dark and amusing he is, this handsome gallant,
           Of chamois-polished charm,
Athlete and dancer of uncommon talent—
           Is there cause for alarm
In his smooth demeanor, the proud tilt of his chin,
           This cavaliere servente, this Harlequin?

“Gentle and kindly this other, ardent but shy,
           With an intelligence
Who would not glory to be guided by—
           And would it not make sense
To trust in someone so devoted, so
           Worshipful as this tender, pale Pierrot?

“Since both of them delight, if I must choose
           I win a matchless mate,
But by that very winning choice I lose—
           I pause, I hesitate,
Putting decision off,” says Columbine,
“And while I hesitate, they both are mine.”
More Poems by Anthony Hecht