“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.