PSYCHE WITH THE CANDLE
Love which is the most difficult mystery
Asking from every young one answers
And most from those most eager and most beautiful—
Love is a bird in a fist:
To hold it hides it, to look at it lets it go.
It will twist loose if you lift so much as a finger.
It will stay if you cover it—stay but unknown and invisible.
Either you keep it forever with your fist closed
Or let it fling
Singing in fervor of sun and in song vanish.
There is no answer other to this mystery.
I think I said two years ago that this was my favorite poem. Though Archibald MacLeish is still one of my favorites. I have loved the myth of Cupid and Psyche since I was ten years old—as a Beauty and the Beast junkie and a Phantom of the Opera phan, I guess I am just stuck on this story. The poem very gently invokes the theme of the myth, where Psyche thinks she has married an invisible monster but, upon seeing him asleep in bed by candlelight, realizes she is married to the God of Love. I find this meditation on love to be very true in my experience.