moon lines






...


I believe this. When we meet those we fall in love with, there is an aspect of our spirit that is historian, a bit of a pedant who reminisces or remembers a meeting when the other has passed by innocently…but all parts of the body must be ready for the other, all atoms must jump in one direction for desire to occur.

—Michael Ondaatje

from The English Patient

...


Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.


—Nayyirah Waheed

 
...



How is it that one day life is orderly and you are content, a little cynical perhaps, but on the whole just so, and then without warning you find the solid floor is a trapdoor and you are now in another place whose geography is uncertain and whose customs are strange?

Travelers at least have a choice. Those who set sail know that things will not be the same as at home. Explorers are prepared. But for us, who travel along the blood vessels, who come to the cities of the interior by chance, there is no preparation. We who were fluent find life is a foreign language. Somewhere between the swamp and the mountains. Somewhere between fear and sex. Somewhere between God and the Devil passion is and the way there is sudden and the way back is worse.

—Jeanette Winterson
The Passion


 ...



It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop, very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to say, it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only all the time.

—Marie Howe
Part of Eve’s Discussion
The Good Thief 


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  •  
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    The little river twittering in the twilight,
    The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,
    This is almost bliss.
    And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
    All the troubles and anxieties and pain
    Gone under the twilight.
    Only the twilight now, and the soft "Sh!" of the river
    That will last forever.
    And at last I know my love for you is here;
    I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
    It is large, so large, I could not see it before,
    Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
    Troubles, anxieties and pains.
    You are the call and I am the answer,
    You are the wish, and I the fulfillment,
    You are the night, and I the day.
    What else - it is perfect enough.
    It is perfectly complete,
    You and I,
    What more--?
    Strange, how we suffer in spite of this.

    —D. H. Lawrence



    .








    ...



    The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers
    —Joan Miro, 1941


    . 


    At dawn it would watch its three sides
    Turned into three glowing wheels
    Disappear into the blue of no return
    It would take out its fourth side
    Kiss it break it three times
    And hide it once more in its former place 

    —Vasko Popaa
    a wise triangle


    ...


    Incantation

    Because we time-travel into the future
    at a blistering sixty minutes an hour,
    I ask you to sit down and write me
    one beautiful sentence I might carry
    in my pocket on the journey when I go,
    and in the window of the train unfold

    O you were the best of all my days.

    Never knowing if the thing is broken
    or the door between us is still open,
    you would like me to sit down and write
    you one beautiful sentence you might
    carry in your wallet when you leave,
    and in the cab you take it out and read

    Permit me voyage, love, into your hands.

    Depending where one stands, each circle
    back is a possible fall, a fail, a spiral,
    and I would like you to take a few seconds
    to write me out one beautiful sentence
    to carry now across the night and ocean,
    and held up at the gate I sit down and open

    Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.


    —Nick Laird
    Includes lines by Frank O'Hara, Hart Crane and Kurt Vonnegut.
    Five Branch Tree



    ...

     






    .



    all which isn’t singing is mere talking
    and all talking’s talking to oneself
    (whether that oneself be sought or seeking
    master or disciple sheep or wolf)
     gush to it as deity or devil
    —toss in sobs and reasons threats and smiles
    name it cruel fair or blessed evil—
    it is you(ne i)nobody else

    drive dumb mankind dizzy with haranguing
    —you are deafened every mother’s son—
    all is merely talk which isn’t singing
    and all talking’s to oneself alone

    but the very song of(as mountains
    feel and lovers)singing is silence


    —E. E. Cummings



    .








    .


    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.
    In ignorance of this

    we talk ourselves to death.


    —Wendell Berry
    Sabbaths, XIV


    ...



    A man and a woman sit near each other, and they do not long at this moment to be older, or younger, nor born in any other nation, or time, or place.
    They are content to be where they are, talking or not talking. Their breaths together feed someone whom we do not know.

    The man sees the way his fingers move; he sees her hands close around a book she hands to him.

    They obey a third body they have in common.
    They have made a promise to love that body.

    Age may come, parting may come, death will come.

    A man and woman sit near each other; as they breathe they feed someone we do not know, someone we know of, whom we have never seen.


    —Robert Bly



    .
    image, this cloud is learning,
    Jean Marc Caimi

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    .



    Every day you play with the light of the universe.
    Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
    You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
    as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

    You are like nobody since I love you.
    Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
    Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
    Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

    Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
    The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
    Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
    The rain takes off her clothes.

    The birds go by, fleeing.
    The wind. The wind.
    I can contend only against the power of men.
    The storm whirls dark leaves
    and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

    You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
    You will answer me to the last cry.
    Cling to me as though you were frightened.
    Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

    Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
    and even your breasts smell of it.
    While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
    I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

    How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
    my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
    So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
    and over our heads the gray light unwinds in turning fans.

    My words rained over you, stroking you.
    A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
    I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
    I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
    dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.

    I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.


    —Pablo Neruda
    every day you play



    .
    A black hole pulling in gas from a star that has wandered too close.
    (NASA E/PO, Sonoma University, Aurore Simonnet)

    .








     .


    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



    ...








    .


    Breathing, all creatures are 
    Brighter than the brightest star 
    You are by far 
    You come right inside of me 
    Close as you can be 

    You kiss my blood 
    And my blood kiss me.


    —Mike Heron
    (The Incredible String Band)



    .


    You are tired,
    (I think)
    Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
    And so am I.

    Come with me, then,
    And we’ll leave it far and far away—
    (Only you and I, understand!)

    You have played,
    (I think)
    And broke the toys you were fondest of,
    And are a little tired now;
    Tired of things that break, and—
    Just tired.
    So am I.

    But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
    And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
    Open to me!
    For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
    And, if you like,
    The perfect places of Sleep.

    Ah, come with me!
    I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
    That floats forever and a day;
    I’ll sing you the jacinth song
    Of the probable stars;
    I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
    Until I find the Only Flower,
    Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
    While the moon comes out of the sea.


    —E. E. Cummings




    .
    ok
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    .


    Betrothed to Righteousness might be
    An Ecstasy discreet
    But Nature relishes the Pinks
    Which she was taught to eat


    —Emily Dickinson


    .







    .


    I have been loving you a little more
    every minute since this morning.


    —Victor Hugo


    .













    .



    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


    ...



    Existence leans its mouth toward me,  because my love cares for it. 
     

    —Meister Eckhart



    ...


    I have been astonished that men could die
    martyrs for their religion –
    I have shuddered at it,
    I shudder no more.


    I could be martyred for my religion.
    Love is my religion
    and I could die for that.
    I could die for you.



    —John Keats
    from a letter, Oct. 13, 1819, to his fiancée Fanny Brawne



    .








    .



    Wait for her with an azure cup.
    Wait for her in the evening at the spring, among perfumed roses.
    Wait for her with the patience of a horse trained for mountains.
    Wait for her with the distinctive aesthetic knowledge of a prince.
    Wait for her with the seven pillows of cloud.
    Wait for her with strands of womanly incense wafting.
    Wait for her with the manly scent of sandalwood on horseback.
    Wait for her and do not rush.
    If she arrives late, wait for her.
    If she arrives early, wait for her.
    Do not frighten the birds in her braided hair.
    Wait for her so that she may sit in a garden at the peak of its flowering.
    Wait for her so that she may breathe this air so strange to her heart.
    Wait for her to lift her garment from her leg cloud by cloud. 
    And wait for her.
    Take her to the balcony to watch the moon drowning in milk.
    Wait for her and offer her water before wine.
    Do not glance at the twin partridges sleeping on her chest.
    Wait and gently touch her hand as she sets a cup on marble.
    As if you are carrying the dew from her wait.
    Speak to her as a flute would to a frightened violin string,
    As if you knew what tomorrow would bring.
    Wait, and polish the night for her ring by ring.
    Wait for her until night speaks to you thus:
    There is no one alive other than the two of you.
    So take her gently to the death you so desire,
    and wait.

    —Mahmoud Darwish
    Lesson From The Kamasutra
    Translated by Carolyn Forché 



    ...








    .


    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. 


    —Rumi

    ...


    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


    .



    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



    .










     .



    being to timelessness as it's to time,
    love did no more begin than love will end;
    where nothing is to breathe to stroll to swim
    love is the air the ocean and the land

    (do lovers suffer?all divinities
    proudly descending put on deathful flesh:
    are lovers glad?only their smallest joy's
    a universe emerging from a wish)

    love is the voice under all silences,
    the hope which has no opposite in fear;
    the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:
    the truth more first than sun more last than star

    -do lovers love?why then to heaven with hell.
    Whatever sages say and fools,all's well


    —E. E. Cummings
    being to timelessness as it's to time


    .
    'Exotic' - timothy allen:
    'A couple in the central highlands of Papua, New Guinea share an intimate moment during a courtship ritual. Runner up, National Geographic Best Travel Pictures of 2011



     .

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

     .




    sleep-prettydarling:

YES YES YES.




    .



    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


    ...



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


    No other kind of light
    Will cook the food you
    Need.



    —Hafiz


    ...









    .


    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,
    Capable,
    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 translation


    ...


    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


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     .




    ...



    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



    ...




    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

    ...


    In this woman the earth speaks
    Her words open in me, cells of light
    flashing in my body, and make a song
    that I follow toward her out of my need.
    The pain I have given her I wear
    like another skin, tender, the air
    around me flashing with thorns.
    And yet such joy as I have given her
    sings in me and is part of her song.
    The winds of her knees shake me
    like a flame.  I have risen up from her,
    time and again, a new man.
    —Wendell Berry
    ...





    .





    .

     

    I don’t have much time. I’m an important person
    to chickadees and mourning doves, whose feeder
    was smashed last night by a raccoon. Soon
    I’ll be wielding duct tape, noticing the dew,
    wanting to bathe in it, hoping the awkwardness
    of yesterday (three instances of people talking
    with bear traps for mouths) never repeats itself
    and we all go forward as if to a party
    for a five year old who refuses to smash candy
    out of a burro. It’s too cute, the burro, too real
    for him not to ask his mother, can I keep it,
    and when the other children cry, they’re given
    lake front property, it works out, this
    is what I see for you, the working out. Think of the
            year
    behind you as a root or think of going to Spain
    and feeling sorry for bulls or don’t think,
    this isn’t the SATs, don’t think but stay.
    Stay happy, honest, stay as tall as you are
    as long as you can using giraffes if you need to
    to see each other above the crowd. I have these
            moments
    when I realize I’m not breathing, my wife
    is never why I’m not breathing and always why
    I want to lick a human heart, remember that each of
            you
    is half of why your bed will sag toward the middle
    of being a boat and that you will both sag
    if you’re lucky together, be lucky together
    and acquire in sagging more square footage
    to kiss and to hold. And always remember
    that I hate you for being so much closer
    than I am to where none of us ever get to go
    again—first look, first touch, first
    inadvertent brush of breath or hair, first time
    you turned over and looked at who was surprising
    you by how fully she was there.

    Bob Hicok
    happy first anniversary (in anticipation of your thirty ninth)



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    .



     

    .



    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






    ok

     

    .




    “…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.)
    ok

    .






     



    .




    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
    constructs
    a miracle,
    in imagination
    anguishes
    till born
    in human—

    looks out of the heart
    burning with purity-
    for the burden of life
    is love,
    but we carry the weight
    wearily,
    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
    (STARTING-POINTS)
    excerpt





    .



    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…
    –Plato
    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
    Need.



    –Hafiz

     
    .












    .

    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
    hangs

    breathless


    –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
    moment.

    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. 


    –Rumi




    .







     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.


    –Rumi



    .











    .



    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,
    Sliding
    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,
    Capable,
    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
    translation



    .








    .



    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, 
    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
    -truthfully,once
    if strangers(who
    deep our most are
    selves)touch:
    forever
    
    (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.



    –Tinkerbell
     


    .




    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





    .





    Leave-Taking

    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




    .

    look
    my fingers, which
    touched you
    and your warmth and crisp
    littleness
    -- 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
    beforehand.
    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
    inside
    outside
    on my fingertips
    and at brain edges
    and in centers
    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-
    thrush
    half-angel and your drowsy
    lips where float flowers of kiss

    and
    there is the sweet shy pirouette
    your hair
    and then

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

    think
    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


    réalta

    crann


    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 
    increase,
    since your mind has walked into
    my kiss as a stranger
    into the streets and colours of a town-

    that i have perhaps forgotten
    how,always(from
    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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