The Second Time is the Best


Falling in love the first time is a dream

It's like an unanchored boat swept away at high tide:

There's no time to think or reconsider:

Venture in haste, repent at leisure.

Mud castles are not protected by walls of grit:

Before you know it the current undercuts the defences,

And in you plunge, headlong, heedless of your self.


Falling in love again and again is a recurring nightmare.

How many loves can one change?

How many false trials sustain?

Each gesture now becomes corrupt:

Hands soiled with dung, eyes degraded with lust.

You wander thirsty and starving in the howling winds

Like a lunatic lost among mirages in the desert.


But falling in love the second time is the best--

Not with anyone else, but with your first love.

That's like entering paradise with open eyes:

The gradual ascent of the sun,

The rise of nectar from the ocean,

The slow, clear, hard, and heady intoxication,

The easy sliding into throbbing ecstasy;

Ripe fruit, sweet and firm, cut cleanly, easily eaten.

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  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape