from ON LOVE
My mother used to say, "Sit down, dear,
and don't cry. The
worst thing for a woman
is her first man--the one who kills
After that, marriage becomes a long career."
Poor Sido! She
never had another career
and she knew first-hand how love ruins
The seducer doesn't care about his woman,
even as he whispers
endearments in her ear.
Never let anyone destroy your inner
Among all the forms of truly absurd courage
recklessness of young girls is outstanding.
Otherwise there would be
far fewer marriages
and even fewer affairs that overwhelm
Look at me: it's amazing I'm still standing
I went through with ridiculous courage.
I was made to suffer, but no
one broke my spirit.
Every woman wants her adventure to be a
of ripening cherries and peaches, Marseilles figs,
grapes, champagne shuddering in crystal.
Happiness, we believe, is on
But unhappiness writes a different kind of
The gypsy gazes down into a clear blue crystal
rotten cherries and withered figs.
Trust me: loneliness, too, can be
Ardor is delicious, but keep your own room.
One of my
husbands said: is it impossible
for you to write a book that isn't
adultery, semi-incestuous relations, separation?
course, this was before our own separation.)
He never understood the
natural law of love,
the arc from the possible to the
I have extolled the tragedy of the bedroom.
need exact descriptions of the first passion,
so pay attention to
whatever happens to you.
Observe everything: love is greedy and
By all means fling yourself wildly into life
sometimes you will be flung back by life)
but don't let experience
make you forgetful
and be surprised by everything that happens to
We are creative creatures fuelled by passion.
thought about the nature of love.
Freedom should be the first
condition of love
and work is liberating (a novel about
cannot be written while you are making love).
underestimate the mysteries of love,
the eminent dignity of not
talking about love.
Passionate attention is prayer, prayer is
Savor the world. Consume the feast with love.
Excerpted from On Love by Edward Hirsch. Copyrightę 1998 by Edward Hirsch. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., a division of
Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Photo credit: Janet Landay.