How Could Young Love Know?
March 1985

“How Could Young Love Know?” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 64

How Could Young Love Know?

Ensign Poetry Contest First Place Winner

In young love they came, a straw mattress

coddling cold bones, puncheon floors

shivering bare feet calloused

by wild stubble in valley plantings.

Her passions sang in harmony with hearthside

melting pot; concocted love’s tunes

while baking cornmeal dodgers

for late-night suppers.

He harnessed love sunlong while plowing

furrows or felling wood

until prayer at the coverlets

warmed winter’s cold kisses.

How could young love know it was to be

portioned like seed corn for spring crops,

punished as lye-hominy into something it was not,

dredged in labor’s tears and gut hunger?

Yet, love so crazy tired and threadbare

was sustained, hand in hand

by shining touches of moon and a child’s smile

sweet as mountain berries preserved

in wild honey.