1993 January 17

Love Without Hope


I first saw this poem, oddly enough, in a London tube train. I was immediately struck by its mix of hope and despair, possibility and denial.

Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher
Swept off his tall hat to the Squire’s own daughter,
So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly
Singing about her head, as she rode by.

—Robert Graves