David Lehman

(June 11, 1948 / New York City)

When A Woman Loves A Man - Poem by David Lehman

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.


Comments about When A Woman Loves A Man by David Lehman

  • (8/5/2016 11:39:00 PM)

    Unpredictable and at times quite queer responses to love by lover and beloved are marvelously unfolded in this fascinating poem. Thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

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  • Rajnish Manga (8/5/2016 11:13:00 PM)

    Lovely poem. Tells so much about the psychology of a man and a woman in love. Thanks, David. (Report)Reply

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  • Bernard Snyder (8/5/2016 10:59:00 PM)

    What an amazing poem. This had my imagination going in a hundred different directions. Awesome! (Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/5/2016 10:56:00 AM)

    A nice tune! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

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  • Barry Middleton (8/5/2016 10:39:00 AM)

    A delightful poem filled with wisdom on the mysterious relationships of lovers. (Report)Reply

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  • Alem Hailu G/kristos (8/5/2016 10:23:00 AM)

    Yes most of the time is like this.Thank you for sharing! (Report)Reply

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  • Anil Kumar Panda (8/5/2016 7:14:00 AM)

    Nice! ! Superb! ! How love plays its game. Like to read again and again. (Report)Reply

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  • Anil Kumar Panda (8/5/2016 7:09:00 AM)

    Superb! ! How love plays its game. Like to read again and again. (Report)Reply

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  • Arindom Borah (8/5/2016 6:00:00 AM)

    Exquisite. Haven't experienced such beauty in poetry for a long time now. (Report)Reply

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  • Soumita Sarkar (1/19/2015 11:11:00 AM)

    Dear David...I want this poem never to stop......so justifies the bond the attitude..the wish...and there is no limit...Thanks.Soumita (Report)Reply

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  • Geetha Jayakumar (8/14/2014 12:25:00 AM)

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

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  • (8/13/2014 12:08:00 PM)

    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. (Report)Reply

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  • (8/13/2014 12:02:00 PM)

    a great write from, I assume, an established poet (Report)Reply

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  • Michelle Claus (8/13/2014 10:03:00 AM)

    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. (Report)Reply

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  • (8/13/2013 10:16:00 PM)

    there's Grand Irony in this one (Report)Reply

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  • (8/13/2013 8:34:00 PM)

    My favorite poem.The truth is told so smoothly.Just can say- - FABULOUS! (Report)Reply

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  • Alex Katowo (8/13/2013 4:18:00 PM)

    it is so attractive to me (Report)Reply

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  • Gajanan Mishra (8/13/2013 12:03:00 PM)

    really a good write, thanks. (Report)Reply

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  • Geetha Jayakumar (8/13/2013 4:43:00 AM)

    Wow. Beautiful write..Loved reading it. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem. (Report)Reply

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  • (8/15/2012 1:20:00 PM)

    So true and did I mention beautiful. (Report)Reply

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Read all 24 comments »




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Read poems about / on: woman, july, sorry, sleep, fun, laughter, kiss, moon, child, friend, water, women, frog, children, star, swimming



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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