20 October, 2012

Questions about Love

From what I have heard of love,
People don’t give their heart.
Our heart flies from us,
And we can choose to follow or not.

                    -- From “Translations”, by Brian Friel.

I too have heard tell of love,
The stories speak
of something solid, something
with body, something
we can hold tight
against our frightened chests
like a living heart.
Other stories tell
of love as blood, loss,
or even war, where some
never come back, babies never get born,
painful things, not something
I would ask for.

We must be born wanting
this love business.
Perhaps its indigenous state
is other than
what we’ve been told.
Perhaps it’s like fresh olive oil, cut crass,
cool dew or new wine
that tastes of mango and lemon.
It could be the freak storm
when the rain fell horizontally
or Sophia who flew straight
through the customs barrier
into my arms.

Or perhaps it was
the thick black clouds
of sweeping swallows
that circled my quiet house
for days, settling on the grass,
In the almond branches, all over
the roof as if the pepper pot
had flipped over, and then,
suddenly, gone one morning.

I think love might be
the fragment of a poem
that comes to one while walking
between spaghetti and ham
in the market by the metro station,
and the rush to get home.
And the days afterwards
of telling it over and over
until it is right there, alight
on my fingertips.

Earth Listening, Hobblebush Press, 2010