The secret of love,
Of remaining together...
Is not what everyone supposes.
It is not always the bringing of gifts,
The candlelight dinners
Or bouquets of roses.
After the bloom is off
these loving flowers,
Irritations and troubles arise.
There are clashes
Over little things.
And lovers forget
The vows they made so easily,
Violating them with anger.
Old resentments from the past
Rise up to poison with enmity,
The nearness that will not last.
Those with wisdom shun these fights,
The sad agony of lonely nights,
Lying awake and wondering
If love still exists, or if one matters,
To the other, if one cares at all.
Over time, self-protection grows,
And the lover builds a rancorous wall
Where weeds choke sunlight from the rose
And the other cannot hurt you.
But the play still goes on,
Like a song that still repeats,
Over and over unnoticed.
And a pantomime of caring
Begins to form, with hollow smiles
And half-hearted promises.
The Rose now lists against the wall,
Pale and tamed, like a common plant,
A vegetable in a kitchen garden.
And lovers expect passion
From a dreary fruit like this?
But once in a thousand times,
Deep roots that began long ago,
Giving rise to the first flower of love,
Last beyond boredom, thirst and drought.
Thorns pierce their hearts through the wall,
Bringing tears of surprise and recall.
The lovers find after the rain:
They have what they have sought.
And that which they sought is all.