What’s One More Love Poem Worth?

WHOLE-trailsofjoy

I’m tired of love poems. But I can’t stop writing them. Haven’t all the best love poems already been written? Or is the love poem the perfect tonic to our busy and hectic lives? If we stop and listen for the echoes of love, even when love is not around us at the moment. When we hunger for the affection we knew, or dream about. Isn’t that as good an impulse as any to open ourselves to the muse?

A love poem is an act of love, for sure, but a love of oneself, a fascination with our own lovingness.

In all the moments, as they come and go, we are given a choice about what we pay attention to. If we are listening from a place of anxiety or worry, our world is colored with the risk and assessments that come along with that mode. On the other hand, if our tuning has aligned with the magnetic pull of the heart, we might find that we are more loving, more aware of the love around us, and more able to express love when we notice it.

As I surround myself with love and words, I begin to tune into the poetry of the moment in many ways. I can’t stay here all the time, I’d get nothing done. But for a moment, in a break between tasks or phone calls, I can pause and a allow the stream of language to pour out, unedited, unfiltered, and unabated for a short period of time. If I can allow the love poem to come through me, without the normal resistance, then maybe I will catch one that has magic. Maybe if I keep trying, I’ll hit a resonance. I’ll connect with the moment, with the letters and sounds, and create a tiny “ping” of joy. A blip of hope in a frenetic paced life.

More listening, and more pauses, more love poems. As I wind through the emotional highs and lows of this life, I begin to align more closely with the love poem side of my life. I am hearing love poems, my thoughts are filled with love poems, and even my longing for a relationship, has a poetic quality to it. My life is one big poem. If that’s not flow, I don’t know what is.

By appreciating the stream-of-consciousness firehose of my mind, I can dip into the flood and retrieve small moments, tiny glimmers of hope, and memories of love once attained and now lost. But even in the sad love poem, there is aspiration. In the calling out of my ache, I am celebrating the ability to feel deeply.

A love poem is the potential for love. A love poem is a prayer for the coming of love, or a swan song for the loss of love.

In this moment, a new person has entered my field of vision. She is merely in my imagination, and yet with the chemicals and vowels all jumbled up in my brain, I can unlock something deeper than my “love letter” to this particular woman. I can dive beyond this woman and into the grand tradition of the poets before me, I can let myself wanderlust and flutter in my salutations, confessions, and enticements to my temporary Aphrodite. She is here for this moment. She arrived by accident. And the mere act of her arrival can spark a new flurry of joyful verse, a new flight of fancy, and even delusions of grandeur.

It’s okay. She’s not to be blamed. And hopefully, not to be scared off by such a bold and perhaps childlike gesture as a love poem. Again, I must withhold the expectations of being heard. The poem is and isn’t for her. It is clearly triggered by her arrival and my imaginations of all that could follow. But she too is somewhat of a victim in my shadow play of imaginary touches, hopeful adjectives, and whimsical anticipation of our eventual connection.

But you see, it’s not about her. I have no idea who she is. We have just met. She has an amazing smile, this is all that I have to go on. In love poetry, that is enough. In crying out to the muse, who has thus far left my prayerful poetics unanswered, I am not really calling out to this woman, but to the goddess. As Rumi had his beloved, I have my lover. As Whitman had his “self” I have my love-projected self. It is all a prayer and a folly. There is no substance or profit in the effort, this ceaseless clattering of keys and words and mouthing of sounds to capture a rhythm.

A poem is created only for itself. A love poem is an act of love, for sure, but a love of oneself, a fascination with our own lovingness. I love the woman inside this woman already. I love something I see of myself in her. I see some hope of making her smile arrive at various moments in the future. But we’ve never met. Not yet. She is perfect. She is more than perfect, she is a muse who has never been disappointed by me, never disapproved of any action or lack of action I have taken. She just is. And for the poet, and the love poem, that is enough.

A love poem is the potential for love. A love poem is a prayer for the coming of love, or a swan song for the loss of love. The more we listen, the more we hear the love poetry all around us, moving towards us and away from us inside our very minds.

She is everything.

She is nothing.

And she gave me yet another love poem. She gives hope in her smile alone. In her saying hello, I am launched.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

e.e. cummings erotica excerpt

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image: leaving trails of joy, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

 

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