moon lines




I will write in words of fire. I will write them on your skin. I will write about desire. Write beginnings, write of sin. You’re the book I love the best, your skin only holds my truth, you will be a palimpsest lines of age rewriting youth. You will not burn upon the pyre. Or be buried on the shelf. You’re my letter to desire: And you’ll never read yourself. I will trace each word and comma As the final dusk descends, You’re my tale of dreams and drama, Let us find out how it end.  

—Neil Gaiman


For nothing of what I seek and for which I thirst (and for which, indeed, all men thirst) is on the level of the raw material at our command. And it is but wasted effort when a man seeks amongst the stones for something not of their essence, when he might put them to a worthy use in the building of his temple; since his true joy lies not in the extracting of one stone from amongst others, but in the ceremonial order of the stones, once the cathedral has been built. And thus it is with the woman on whom my choice has fallen; I can make nothing coherent of her if I fail to perceive what lies beyond her, her significance. True, O Lord, when I watch a young wife sleeping in her sweet nakedness, pleasant it is for me to feast my eyes on her beauty, the frail grace of her limbs, the soft warmth of her breasts - and why should I not have my joy of her? But I have understood Thy truth. It is for me to ensure that she who now is sleeping and whom presently I will awaken, merely by letting my shadow fall on her, shall not be like a blind wall against which I knock my head, but a portal opening on another world; and that I do not disintegrate her, seeking for an impossible treasure amongst the fragments, but bind her together in oneness, a tight-drawn knot, in the silence of my love.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery


You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope,
coffee, and poetry. –Frida Kahlo



Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other.
–Paulo Coelho, 
Eleven Minutes


She had sown the seeds she had in her hand, no others, but these alone.
And trees were growing

Clarice Lispector


I wished that that woman would write and proclaim this unique empire so that other women, other unacknowledged sovereigns might exclaim: I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst–burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: you are mad! What’s the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient, infinite woman who, immersed as she was in her naiveté, kept in the dark about herself, led into self-disdain by the great arm of parental-conjugal phallocentrism, hasn’t been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a…divine composure), hasn’t accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn’t thought she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.
–Hélène Cixous
The Laugh of the Medusa




“…they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes they called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas 2 glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.” 

–James Joyce,
“Ulysses” 1922



I want a soul mate who can sit me down,
shut me up, tell me ten things I don’t already know, and make me laugh.

I don’t care what you look like, just turn me on.
And if you can do that, I will follow you on bloody stumps through the snow.
I will nibble your mukluks with my own teeth.

I will do your windows.
I will care about your feelings.
Just have something in there.

–Henry Rollins

(you have been visited by the love owl.

A special person will come into your life soon.)




i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

–E. E. Cummings
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]



Then Almitra spoke again and said,
“And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:
You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when
white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

–Kahlil Gibran
The Prophet


Of all the agonies of life, that which is most poignant and harrowing – that which for the time annihilates reason, and leaves our whole organization one lacerated, mangled heart – is the conviction that we have been deceived where we placed all the trust of love.

–Edward Bulwer–Lytton



The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
a miracle,
in imagination
till born
in human—

looks out of the heart
burning with purity-
for the burden of life
is love,
but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love—
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
—cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy

—must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye—

yes, yes,
that's what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

–Allen Ginsberg



My memory loves you; it asks about you all the time.
–Jonathan Carroll


top: Rosalind Solomon, Birds

bottom: Letter written by Emma Hauck to her husband while in a psychiatric hospital. The words ‘sweetheart come’ (Herzensschatzi komm), are written over and over filling the surface of the paper.
(c. 1909)


The Art of Disappearing

When they say
Don’t I know you?
say no.
When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

–Naomi Shihab Nye


The poem creates a loving order. I foresee a sun-man and a moon-woman, he free of his power, she of her slavery, and implacable loves streaking through black space. Everything must yield to those incandescent eagles.

Song dawns on the turrets of your mind. Poetic justice burns fields of shame: there is no room for nostalgia, for the I, for proper nouns.

Every poem is fulfilled at the poet's expense.

–Octavio Paz
Toward the Poem


We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright.
–Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast


Surely, one must be either undiscerning, or frightened, to love only one person, when the world is so full of gracious and noble spirits.


let’s live suddenly without thinking
under honest trees,
                        a stream
does.the brain of cleverly-crinkling
-water pursues the angry dream
of the shore. By midnight,
                                a moon
scratches the skin of the organised hills
an edged nothing begins to prune
let’s live like the light that kills
and let’s as silence,
                            because Whirl’s after all:
(after me)love,and after you.
 I occasionally feel vague how
vague idon’t know tenuous Now-
spears and The Then-arrows making do
our mouths something red,something tall

–E. E. Cummings



I hadn’t told them about you, but they saw you bathing in my eyes.

I hadn’t told them about you, but they saw you in my written words.

The perfume of love cannot be concealed.

—Nizar Qabbani


I want to write different words for you

To invent a language for you alone

To fit the size of your body

And the size of my love.

I want to travel away from the dictionary

And to leave my lips

I am tired of my mouth

I want a different one

Which can change

Into a cherry tree or a match box,

A mouth from which words can emerge

Like nymphs from the sea,

Like white chicks jumping from the magician’s hat.

–Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998)
Bassam K. Frangieh and Clementina R. Brown translation


…and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself… the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other’s sight, as I may say, even for a moment…
from the Synposium


After we had loved each other intently, 
we heard notes tumble together, 
in late winter, and we heard ice 
falling from the ends of twigs. 

The notes abandon so much as they move. 
They are the food not eaten, the comfort 
not taken, the lies not spoken. 
The music is my attention to you. 

And when the music came again, 
late in the day, I saw tears in your eyes. 
I saw you turn your face away 
So that others would not see. 

When men and women come together, 
how much they have to abandon. Wrens 
make their nests of fancy threads 
and string ends, animals 

abandon all their money each year. 
What is it that men and women leave? 
Harder than wren's doing, they have 
to abandon their longing for the perfect. 

The inner nest not made by instinct 
will never be quite round, 
and each has to enter the nest 
made by the other imperfect bird.

–Robert Bly
listening to the Koln concert


Goodnight and great love to you. We see the same stars.

–George Mallory


i miss you


In a crease of the hill
under the light,
out of the wind,
as warmth, bloom, and song
return, lady, I think of you,
and myself with you.
What are we but forms
of self-acknowledging
light that brings us
warmth and song from time
to time? Lip and flower,
hand and leaf, tongue
and song, what are we but welcomers
of that ancient joy, always
coming, always passing?
Mayapples rising
out of old time, leaves
folded down around
the stems, as if for flight,
flower bud folded in 
unfolding leaves, what
are we but hosts
of times, of all
the Sabbath morning shows,
the light that finds it good.

–Wendell Berry
Sabbath Poem


What can I do with this memory?
Shake the bones out of it?
—Anne Sexton
from “Waking Alone


I speak to you as a friend speaks
or a true lover
not out of friendship nor love
but for a clear meeting
of self upon self.

–Audre Lorde


Those hours given over to basking in the glow of an imagined
future, of being carried away in streams of promise by a love or
a passion so strong that one felt altered forever and convinced
that even the smallest particle of the surrounding world was
charged with purpose of impossible grandeur; ah, yes, and
one would look up into the trees and be thrilled by the wind-
loosened river of pale, gold foliage cascading down and by the
high, melodious singing of countless birds; those moments, so
many and so long ago, still come back, but briefly, like fireflies
in the perfumed heat of summer night.

–Mark Strand
Almost Invisible: Poems


Find that flame, that existence,
That wonderful woman
Who can burn beneath the water. 

No other kind of light
Will cook the food you




To love is to approach each other center to center.

–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin



This is the non-existent animal.
Not knowing that, they loved it, loved its ways,
its neck, its posture, loved its quiet gaze
down to the light within it, loved it all.

True, it was not. But, because loved, a pure
beast came to be. A space was kept, conceded.
And in that space, left blank for it, secure,
it gently raised its head and hardly needed

to be. They fed it on no kind of corn,
but always only with the right to be.
And on the beast such power this could confer,

its brow put forth new growth. A single horn.
White, it sought out a virgin's company -
and was inside the mirror and in her.

 Rainer Maria Rilke

The Duino Elegies, excerpt



Should we be grateful for the protection that guards us from the strangeness of one another? And for the freedom it makes possible? 

How would it be if we confronted each other unprotected by the double refraction represented by the interpreted body? 

If, because nothing separating and adulterating stood between us, we tumbled into each other?

–Pascal Mercier


There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning, the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom.

–Annie Dillard
Holy the Firm


silently if,out of not knowable
night's utmost nothing,wanders a little guess
(only which is this world)more my life does
not leap than with the mystery your smile
sings or if(spiralling as luminous
they climb oblivion)voices who are dreams,
less into heaven certainly earth swims
than each my deeper death becomes your kiss

losing through you what seemed myself,i find
selves unimaginably mine;beyond
sorrow's own joys and hoping's very fears
yours is the light by which my spirit's born:

yours is the darkness of my soul's return
-you are my sun,my moon,and all my stars

–E. E. Cummings




Before the fall rains come,
Let’s have one more picnic,
Now that the leaves are turning color
And the grass is still green in places.

Bread, cheese and some black grapes
Ought to be enough,
And a bottle of red wine to toast the crows
Puzzled to find us sitting here.

If it gets cold—and it will—I’ll hold you close.
Night will come early.
We’ll watch the sky, hoping for a full moon
To light our way home.

And if there isn’t one, we’ll put all our trust
In your book of matches
And my sense of direction
As we grope our way in the dark.

–Charles Simic
Last Picnic


Things I Want Decided

Which shouldn't exist
in this world,
the one who forgets
or the one
who is forgotten?

Which is better,
to love
one who has died
or not to see
each other when you are alive?

Which is better,
the distant lover
you long for
or the one you see daily
without desire?

Which is the least unreliable
among fickle things -
the swift rapids,
a flowing river,
or this human world?

Izumi Shikibu
translated by Jane Hirshfield
The Ink Dark Moon 



my love is building a building
around you,a frail slippery
house,a strong fragile house
(beginning at the singular beginning

of your smile)a skilful uncouth
prison,a precise clumsy
prison(building thatandthis into Thus,
Around the reckless magic of your mouth)

my love is building a magic,a discrete
tower of magic and(as i guess)

when Farmer Death(whom fairies hate)shall

crumble the mouth-flower fleet
He’ll not my tower,
laborious, casual

where the surrounded smile


–E. E. Cummings


You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next

All the immense
images in me -- the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods--
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house-- , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,--
you had just walked down them and vanished. 

And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening... 

–Rainer Maria Rilke


My wish is that you may be loved to the point of madness.

—André Breton




Although you sit in a room that is gray,
Except for the silver
Of the straw-paper,
And pick
At your pale white gown;

Or lift one of the green beads
Of your necklace,
To let it fall;

Or gaze at your green fan
Printed with the red branches of a red willow;

Or, with one finger,
Move the leaf in the bowl--
The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia
Beside you...

What is all this?
I know how furiously your heart is beating.

–Wallace Stevens
The Gray Room


—Love is fragile —she was thinking —but perhaps the pieces are saved, the things that hovered on lips, that might have been said. The new love words, the tendernesses learned, are treasured up for the next lover.

–F. Scott Fitzgerald
May Day


In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you.
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.

–Nizar Qabbani 



I want a trouble-maker for a lover;
blood spiller, blood drinker, a heart of flame. 

Who quarrels with the sky and fights with fate. 

Who burns like fire on the rushing sea. 



 Utka Nayika - A lady awaits her lover in the forest ca 1775-1780


She pressed her ear against the shell:
she wanted to hear everything
he never told her.

—Dunya Mikhail
Tablets, section 1


i love you much(most beautiful darling)
more than anyone on the earth and i
like you better than everything in the sky

-sunlight and singing welcome your coming

although winter may be everywhere
with such a silence and such a darkness
noone can quite begin to guess

(except my life)the true time of year-

and if what calls itself a world should have
the luck to hear such singing(or glimpse such
sunlight as will leap higher than high
through gayer than gayest someone's heart at your each

nearness)everyone certainly would(my
most beautiful darling)believe in nothing but love

–E. E. Cummings
i love you much(most beautiful darling)


The body
is a single creature, whole,
its life is one, never less than one, or more,
so is its world, and so
are two bodies in their love for one another
one. In ignorance of this
we talk ourselves to death.

–Wendell Berry
from Sabbaths, XIV


1025 molecules
are enough

to call woodthrush or apple.

A hummingbird, fewer.
A wristwatch: 1024.

An alphabet's molecules, 

tasting of honey, iron and salt,

cannot be counted–

as some strings, untouched,

sound when a near one is speaking.

As it was when love slipped inside us.

It looked out to face in every direction.

Then it was inside the tree, the rock, the cloud.

–Jane Hirshfield
First Light Edging Cirrus


See how in their veins all becomes spirit:
into each other they mature and grow.
Like axles, their forms tremblingly orbit,
round which it whirls, bewitching and aglow.
Thirsters, and they receive drink,
watchers, and see: they receive sight.
Let them into one another sink
so as to endure each other outright.

–Rainer Maria Rilke
The Lovers


A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.

We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden's beauty
and the birds singing.

The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.

You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.

The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.

In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.




I do not resemble your other lovers, my lady
Should another give you a cloud
I give you rain
Should he give you a lantern, I
will give you the moon

Should he give you a branch
I will give you the trees

And if another gives you a ship
I shall give you the journey.

–Nizar Qabbani 


Love happened at last,
And we entered God's paradise,
Under the skin of the water
Like fish.

We saw the precious pearls of the sea
And were amazed.
Love happened at last
Without intimidation…with symmetry of wish.

So I gave…and you gave
And we were fair.

It happened with marvelous ease
Like writing with jasmine water,
Like a spring flowing from the ground.

–Nizar Qabbani
on entering the sea


Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.
The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

–Joyce Sutphen
what the heart cannot forget
Coming Back to the Body


I do not love you as if you were the salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

–Pablo Neruda
Sonnet XVll


Te l’ai dit en janvier
Te le dirai en août.
I told you in January
I will tell you in August.

–Félix Leclerc


When you find a man
Who transforms
Every part of you
Into poetry,

Who makes each one of your hairs
Into a poem,

When you find a man,
As I am
Of bathing and adorning you
With poetry,

I will beg you
To follow him without hesitation,

It is not important
That you belong to me or him

But that you belong to poetry.

–Nizar Qabbani
Bassam K. Frangieh and
Clementina R. Brown



You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served.

—Nina Simone



you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to
right from the beginning—a relationship based on
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers
so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting
to tear down the empire state building and replace it
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes
i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house
a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being
in the right place at the right time—come take your seat

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve

–Robert Hershon
Superbly Situated


somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will enclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

 –E. E. Cummings


Even if I now saw you only once, 
I would long for you through worlds, 

—Izumi Shikibu

The Ink Dark Moon, excerpt
Jane Hirshfield translation


true lovers in each happening of their hearts
live longer than all which and every who;
despite what fear denies,what hope asserts,
what falsest both disprove by proving true

(all doubts,all certainties,as villains strive
and heroes through the mere mind’s poor pretend
—grim comics of duration:only love
immortally occurs beyond the mind)

such a forever is love’s any now
and her each here is such an everywhere,
even more true would truest lovers grow
if out of midnight dropped more suns than are

(yes;and if time should ask into his was
all shall,their eyes would never miss a yes)

–E. E. Cummings


Two souls are sometimes created together
and in love before they’re born.

–F. Scott Fitzgerald


Didn't you like the way the ants help
the peony globes open by eating the glue off?
Weren't you cheered to see the ironworkers
sitting on an I-beam dangling from a cable,
in a row, like starlings, eating lunch, maybe
baloney on white with fluorescent mustard?
Wasn't it a revelation to waggle
from the estuary all the way up the river,
the kill, the pirle, the run, the rent, the beck,
the sike barely trickling, to the shock of a spring?
Didn't you almost shiver, hearing book lice
clicking their sexual dissonance inside an old
Webster' s New International, perhaps having just
eaten of it izle, xyster, and thalassacon?
Forget about becoming emaciated. Think of the wren
and how little flesh is needed to make a song.
Didn't it seem somehow familiar when the nymph
split open and the mayfly struggled free
and flew and perched and then its own back
broke open and the imago, the true adult,
somersaulted out and took flight, seeking
the swarm, mouth-parts vestigial,
alimentary canal come to a stop,
a day or hour left to find the desired one?
Or when Casanova took up the platter
of linguine in squid's ink and slid the stuff
out the window, telling his startled companion,
"The perfected lover does not eat."
Didn't you glimpse in the monarchs
what seemed your own inner blazonry
flapping and gliding, in desire, in the middle air?
Weren't you reassured to think these flimsy
hinged beings, and then their offspring,
and then their offspring' s offspring, could
navigate, working in shifts, all the way to Mexico,
to the exact plot, perhaps the very tree,
by tracing the flair of the bodies of ancestors
who fell in this same migration a year ago?
Doesn't it outdo the pleasure of the brilliant concert
to wake in the night and find ourselves
holding hands in our sleep?

–Galway Kinnell
why regret?


When I love
I feel that I am the king of time
I possess the earth and everything on it
and ride into the sun upon my horse.
When I love
I become liquid light
invisible to the eye
and the poems in my notebooks
become fields of mimosa and poppy.

When I love
the water gushes from my fingers
grass grows on my tongue
when I love
I become time outside all time.

When I love a woman
all the trees
run barefoot toward me…

–Nizar Qabbani
when i love


An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break.

—Chinese proverb


if strangers meet
life begins-
not poor not rich
(only aware)
kind neither
nor cruel
(only complete)
i not not you
not possible;
only truthful
if strangers(who
deep our most are

(and so to dark)
–E. E. Cummings

Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.

—Frida Kahlo


Find me now. Before someone else does.

–Haruki Murakami


You know that place between sleep and awake;
that place where you can still remember dreaming?

That’s where I will always love you.
That’s where I will be waiting.



She is sixty. She lives
the greatest love of her life.

She walks arm-in-arm with her dear one,
her hair streams in the wind.

Her dear one says:
"You have hair like pearls."

Her children say:
"Old fool."

–Anna Swir


In the dusk, the path you used to come to me is overgrown
and indistinguishable,

except for the spider webs that hang across it
like threads of sorrow.

–Lady Izumi Shikibu,
born 976 CE


Two shall be born, the whole wide world apart,
And speak in different tongues and have no thought
Each of the other's being, and no heed.
And these, o'er unknown seas, to unknown lands
Shall cross, escaping wreck, defying death;
And all unconsciously shape every act
And bend each wandering step to this one end -
That, one day, out of darkness they shall meet
And read life's meaning in each other's eyes.

And two shall walk some narrow way of life
So nearly side by side that, should one turn
Ever so little space to left or right,
They needs must stand acknowledged, face to face.
And, yet, with wistful eyes that never meet
And groping hands that never clasp and lips
Calling in vain to ears that never hear,
They seek each other all their weary days
And die unsatisfied - and this is Fate!

–Susan Marr Spalding [1841-1908]


She has composed, so long, a self with which to welcome him,
Companion to his self for her, which she imagined,
Two in a deep-founded sheltering, friend and dear friend.

The trees had been mended, as an essential exercise
In an inhuman meditation, larger than her own.
No winds like dogs watched over her at night.

She wanted nothing he could not bring her by coming alone.
She wanted no fetchings. His arms would be her necklace
And her belt, the final fortune of their desire.

But was it Ulysses? Or was it only the warmth of the sun
On her pillow? The thought kept beating in her like her heart.
The two kept beating together. It was only day.

It was Ulysses and it was not. Yet they had met,
Friend and dear friend and a planet's encouragement.
The barbarous strength within her would never fail.

She would talk a little to herself as she combed her hair,
Repeating his name with its patient syllables,
Never forgetting him that kept coming constantly so near. 

–Wallace Stevens


If you are not too long,
I will wait here for you all my life.

Oscar Wilde
Gwendolen, Act II


Words, wide night

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I am singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See?
I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words. 

–Carol Ann Duffy



I do not know where either of us can turn
Just at first, waking from the sleep of each other.
I do not know how we can bear
The river struck by the gold plummet of the moon,
Or many trees shaken together in the darkness.
We shall wish not to be alone
And that love were not dispersed and set free—
Though you defeat me,
And I be heavy upon you.

But like earth heaped over the heart
Is love grown perfect.
Like a shell over the beat of life
Is love perfect to the last.
So let it be the same
Whether we turn to the dark or to the kiss of another;
Let us know this for leavetaking,
That I may not be heavy upon you,
That you may blind me no more.

–Louise Bogan


my fingers, which
touched you
and your warmth and crisp
-- see?do not resemble my
fingers.  My wrists hands
which held carefully the soft silence
of you(and your body
smile eyes feet hands)                                                                            
are different
from what they were.  My arms
in which all of you lay folded
quietly,like a
leaf of some flower
newly made by Spring
Herself, are not my
arms,  I do not recognise
as myself this which i find before
me in a mirror,  i do
not believe
i have ever seen these things;
someone whom you love
and who is slenderer
taller than
myself has entered and become such
lips as i use to talk with, 
a new person is alive and 
gestures with my
or it is perhaps you who 
with my voice
are playing.

–E. E. Cummings






I exist in two places, here and where you are

—Margaret Atwood


To kiss a forehead is to erase worry.
I kiss your forehead.

To kiss the eyes is to lift sleeplessness.
I kiss your eyes.

To kiss the lips is to drink water.
I kiss your lips.

To kiss a forehead is to erase memory.
I kiss your forehead.

Marina Tsvetaeva
trans. Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine


They’re both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is more beautiful,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways—
perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?

I want to ask them
if they don’t remember—
a moment face to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a “sorry” muttered in a crowd?
a curt “wrong number”caught in the receiver?—
but I know the answer.
No, they don’t remember.

They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.

Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night. perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy by morning.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.

–Wislawa Szymborska
Love At First Sight


if I never see you again
I will always carry you
on my fingertips
and at brain edges
and in centers
of what I am of
what remains.

–Charles Bukowski
from a letter to Katherine, 25th January 1976


Extinguish my eyes, I’ll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I’ll go on hearing you.
And without feet I can make my way to you,
without a mouth I can swear your name.

Break off my arms, I’ll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I’ll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.

– Rainer Maria Rilke


I wish I’d done everything on Earth with you.

–F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby


In The Rain
in the rain-
darkness, the sunset
being sheathed i sit and
think of you

the holy
city which is your face
your little cheeks the streets
of smiles

your eyes half-
half-angel and your drowsy
lips where float flowers of kiss

there is the sweet shy pirouette
your hair
and then

your dancesong
soul. rarely-beloved
a single star is
uttered,and i

of you

E. E. Cummings



In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you.

Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.

–Nizar Qabbani 


Every time I kiss you
After a long separation
I feel
I am putting a hurried love letter
In a red mailbox.

–Nizar Qabbani


I know all that's wrong with coveting your neighbor's life,
but I want the one I've invented for this couple in front
of me in line at the license bureau.

I can see the pulse in his temple, the faint down 
along her jaw. But I can't understand their constant murmurings,
so practiced they are at keeping in and keeping out.

She's 70 and beautiful, he's matter-of-factly rapt.
They never quite touch, though they incline themselves
to receive whatever's given. 

I study the driver's handbook, memorizing numbers
I'll forget tomorrow. 

Before she steps away for the official photograph,
she reties the bow at her throat. 
Her husband's shoes are freshly shined, 
his neck pink from the barber's clippers. 

When his wife comes shyly back he lifts his arms,
asking her to dance.
My own rise up in reply.

–Sharon Bryan


At gate C22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like he'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she'd been released at last from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.

Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
the way it gathers and swells, sucking
each rock under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching -
passengers waiting for the delayed flight
to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
sunglasses. We couldn't look away. We could
taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.

But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
what happened after - if she beat you or left you or
you're lonely now - you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.

The whole wing of the airport hushed,
all of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body,
her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.

–Ellen Bass


Day after day I think of you as soon as I wake up. 

Someone has put cries of birds on the air like jewels.

–Anne Carson
from Short Talks


If for a moment
the leaves fell upward,

if it seemed a small flock
of brown-orange birds
circled over the trees,

if they circled then scattered each in 
its own direction for the lost seed
they had spotted in tall, gold-checkered grass.

If the bloom of flies on the window
in morning sun, if their singing insistence
on grief and desire.  If the fish.
 If the rise of the fish.

If the blue morning held in the glass of the window,
if my fingers, my palms.  If my thighs.
 If your hands, if my thighs.

If the seeds, among all the lost gold of the grass.
If your hands on my thighs, if your tongue.

If the leaves. If the singing fell upward.  If grief.
For a moment if singing and grief.

If the blue of the body fell upward, out of our hands.
If the morning held it like leaves.

–Jane Hirshfield
The Lives of the Heart


You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

—Rainer Maria Rilke
 Let Everything Happen


a star

a tree

and the longing in between



is an tnúthán eatarthu

–Gabriel Rosenstock


it is so long since my heart has been with yours

shut by our mingling arms through
a darkness where new lights begin and 
since your mind has walked into
my kiss as a stranger
into the streets and colours of a town-

that i have perhaps forgotten
these hurrying crudities
of blood and flesh)Love
coins His most gradual gesture,

and whittles life to eternity

-after which our separating selves become museums
filled with skilfully stuffed memories

–E. E. Cummings


I thought of you and how you love this beauty,

And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and silver of the sea –
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.

–Sara Teasdale



To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter or a light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
When he
Shuts a door-
Is not there_
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth
To touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.

–Gwendolyn Brooks


one's not half two.  It's two are halves of one:
which halves reintegrating,shall occur
no death and any quantity;but than
all numerable mosts the actual more

minds ignorant of stern miraculous
this everytruth-beware of heartless them
(given the scalpel,they dissect a kiss;
or,sold the reason,they  undream a dream)

one is the song which friends and angels sing:
all murdering lies by mortals told make two.
Let liars wilt,repaying life they're loaned;
we(by a gift called dying born)must grow

deep in dark least ourselves remembering
love only rides his year.
                                    All lose, whole find

–E. E. Cummings


I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

–Sylvia Plath
Mad Girl's Love Song



I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you...

–Amy Lowell
from The Letter


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