Arts/Literature

Happy Valentine’s Day from S&R: Two love poems

I was never great at love poems, but these two are probably my best.

Gravity: Summer Solstice, 1992
                                                            - for Mary

Go tell it to the sea, 
how he should let go
his moonstruck,

his shameless high tides – 
climbing each day, each night
kissing at her cloudless 
indifference.

Perhaps he'd answer
that it's all cyclical – hope
driving him up the beach and the brooding
low tides.

Even so, most of his time is chasing
fish into nets, lobbing
bodysurfers towards shore,

and coming to grips with a notion –

	there is nothing new under the sun,
and
	what goes up must come down.

Crabs have always scuttled among the rocks.
Sharks are still enforcing Darwinism.
And late this summer hurricanes will once again 
rage up the Atlantic coast.

But only one moon, fair as pearl dust, 
trails her sable skirts across the night 
sky, and what is the ocean 
besides his faith in gravity? –

dreaming the day wanderchild falls,
when fire makes peace with earth
and sky with restless sea.

High Country Wireless (Imbolc, 2000)
                                                            - for Angela

1.
The spirit country is too vast to string with wire,
to arc into a blade-sharp wind
and stand tar-soaked poles across the bottomless miles.

Clouds curve white along the peaks,
sift down through the back country
beyond the boundaries. Night climbs up,
carves itself into the valley floor.

2.
Cathedrals of commerce
interrupt the sky.

But lapping on the shores of sleep, 
dreampop pools –

	rainbowfish dancing in silvery tides.

Sweat freezes on our faces,
our breath like angels flying back to Heaven.

3.
We bind ourselves with ice and darkening sky,
we are blood music lingering in a booth at the back of the bar,
we fumble for wavelength on an antique dial....

We are the disconnected generation:

	our fathers and mothers, broken on the Christian Wheel
	our unborn, more circuitry than flesh

	our brothers and sisters and friends and lovers,
	whose anesthetic memories of us are dust motes
	floating in a stained glass haze....

But you shimmer,
vermillion gash ripping the afterdark,
haunting the dollhouses in Daddy's little dreams.

	Shine it on
	burn it down
	scream until the night sky shatters

	raining shards of star and borealis
	caught, like glitterpits

black and sparkle in the laughter of your eyes.

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2 replies »

  1. I liked both the poems, but especially “High Country Wireless”. Beautiful words strung together; some brought together from disparate realms yet forming a lovely confluence.

    In “Gravity: Summer Solstice” there were some precious notes like “shameless high tides – climbing each day, each night kissing at her cloudless indifference”. I loved “cloudless indifference”; “sharks still enforcing Darwinism” and more.

    If I have a criticism about “Gravity….” as reader it is this: I found you built it up beautifully and made me wonder what I was about to discover, like a mystery unfolding. Because of which I found the word “cyclical” somewhat lacking in the lyrical flow of the rest of the poem. Outside of this one moment you write very well. I wonder what Mary thought of it. You don’t have to answer that unless you want to 🙂

    Thanks for sharing

    BarryK

    • “Cyclical” is indeed an unromantic word choice. I was seeking to inject some cold calculus into the poem to signify that life, in all its banality, is unperturbed by my love for this woman. Of course, this comes at a cost – as you note, you’re breaking up something that’s awfully pretty.

      Mary liked it, as I recall. Probably still has it in a box somewhere. There is a deep tragedy in all this, sadly. But for me, that’s the essential nature of the love poem.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.