Listening to the Koln Concert by Robert Bly
After we had loved each other intently,
we heard notes tumble together,
in late winter, and we heard ice
falling from the ends of twigs.
The notes abandon so much as they move.
They are the food not eaten, the comfort
not taken, the lies not spoken.
The music is my attention to you.
And when the music came again,
late in the day, I saw tears in your eyes.
I saw you turn your face away
So that others would not see.
When men and women come together,
how much they have to abandon. Wrens
make their nests of fancy threads
and string ends, animals
abandon all their money each year.
What is it that men and women leave?
Harder than wren’s doing, they have
to abandon their longing for the perfect.
The inner nest not made by instinct
will never be quite round,
and each has to enter the nest
made by the other imperfect bird.