How Could Young Love Know?

    “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.