When A Woman Loves A Man Poem by David Lehman

When A Woman Loves A Man

Rating: 4.6

When she says Margarita she means Daiquiri.
When she says quixotic she means mercurial.
And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again,"
she means, "Put your arms around me from behind
as I stand disconsolate at the window."

He's supposed to know that.

When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginia
or he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading,
or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he
is raking leaves in Ithaca
or he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolate
at the window overlooking the bay
where a regatta of many-colored sails is going on
while he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway.

When a woman loves a man it is one-ten in the morning,
she is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzels
drinking lemonade
and two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bed
where she remains asleep and very warm.

When she says tomorrow she means in three or four weeks.
When she says, "We're talking about me now,"
he stops talking. Her best friend comes over and says,
"Did somebody die?"

When a woman loves a man, they have gone
to swim naked in the stream
on a glorious July day
with the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle
of water ruching over smooth rocks,
and there is nothing alien in the universe.

Ripe apples fall about them.
What else can they do but eat?

When he says, "Ours is a transitional era."
"That's very original of you," she replies,
dry as the Martini he is sipping.

They fight all the time
It's fun
What do I owe you?
Let's start with an apology
Ok, I'm sorry, you dickhead.
A sign is held up saying "Laughter."
It's a silent picture.
"I've been fucked without a kiss," she says,
"and you can quote me on that,"
which sounds great in an English accent.

One year they broke up seven times and threatened to do it
another nine times.

When a woman loves a man, she wants him to meet her at the
airport in a foreign country with a jeep.
When a man loves a woman he's there. He doesn't complain that
she's two hours late
and there's nothing in the refrigerator.

When a woman loves a man, she wants to stay awake.
She's like a child crying
at nightfall because she didn't want the day to end.

When a man loves a woman, he watches her sleep, thinking:
as midnight to the moon is sleep to the beloved.
A thousand fireflies wink at him.
The frogs sound like the string section
of the orchestra warming up.
The stars dangle down like earrings the shape of grapes.

Geetha Jayakumar 14 August 2014

A Fantastic poem. My favourite poem, I am reading it again. Beautiful way you have captured the woman loving a man..Thanks for sharing.

3 0 Reply
Michelle Claus 13 August 2014

Splendid nuance. This poem puts into words the action of two spiral galaxies that intertwine with forceful attraction and eventually separate. Such is the rhythm to which Man and Woman are also subject, it seems.

1 1 Reply
Leslie Philibert 13 August 2014

a great write from, I assume, an established poet

1 1 Reply
Hardik Vaidya 13 August 2014

One can smell the city in this work of David Lehman. Not only is the Poem comfortable draped in the glitter and chaos of life, she catwalks with élan wearing a pair of red stilettos.

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Douglas Scotney 13 August 2013

there's Grand Irony in this one

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Sylvia Frances Chan 17 April 2023

THREE: When a woman loves a man........loveliest title, an extra-ordinary theme, Top Marks for this special poem, I have enjoyed remendously. TFS

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Sylvia Frances Chan 17 April 2023

TWO: this collection of poetry represents the grit of New Yorkers, and also represents that even after great tragedy like the World Trade Center attack, the lives of tough people go on and there is still living left to do.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 17 April 2023

ONE: it is impossible to simply categorize Lehman as just a love poet because he is also a life poet. Considering that this work was produced and influenced by the tensions of post-9/11 New York,

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Chinedu Dike 16 March 2023

A beautiful creation written with conviction

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Theos Duncan 14 March 2023

Couldn't stop reading it and wish it didn't end

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