Sometimes love can strike us unaware. But look, in this poem, a poet - laconic Billy Collins in this case - is there to observe it, to capture it in verse.
And the effect is spellbinding and quite endearing. Especially in the fact that in the midst of ordinary life, ordinary recounting, the heavenly glow of love can shine through: 'I saw him looking up at her/and what she was doing/the way the eyes of saints are painted/when they are looking up at God'. The first hint of love indeed!
Love - Billy Collins
The boy at the far end of the train car
kept looking behind him
as if he were afraid or expecting someone
and then she appeared in the glass door
of the forward car and he rose
and opened the door and let her in
and she entered the car carrying
a large black case
in the unmistakable shape of a cello.
She looked like an angel with a high forehead
and somber eyes and her hair
was tied up behind her neck with a black bow.
And because of all that,
he seemed a little awkward
in his happiness to see her,
whereas she was simply there,
perfectly existing as a creature
with a soft face who played the cello.
And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together
is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,
I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted
when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.