Choosing a Lover

I come to the crossroads, where the two women wait.
Which one shall you choose, which path, O my soul?

You have loved them both, and both demand all of you.

How comforting the breasts, how sweet the kiss, of her
Who calls herself Rest, but is named by others Despair.
In her bed pain is anesthetized, all struggles cease.
To make love to her is to reach a climax of numbness
The past and its woes, the future and its fears, melt away
Into a present suffused with the glow of warm darkness.
She stands, Rest, Despair, call her whatever you may,
And with open, eager arms beckons me into her embrace.

You have loved, O my soul, and yet have never loved,
The other woman, the virgin, the one veiled, Hope.
Her back is turned—in refusal or summons?—I know not.
Once she looked at me, her eyes hard, truthful, distant.
They urged me to follow her, but on the path she trod,
It was raining tears, night loomed, she alone was light.
I begged her embrace, her love to heal my wounded heart,
But all she gave was a promise of peace at journey’s end.

You have loved them both, and both demand all of you.
Which one shall you choose, which woman, O my soul?