13 April 2010

April Poem A Day Challenge Day 13

"Every poem I write is a love poem." Maybe a strange statement for me to make, but a true one.

From Poetic Asides: Here are today's two prompts:
1. Write a love poem.
2. Write an anti-love poem.

For this prompt I wrote one 'love' poem, and two 'anti-love' poems. The anti poems were not necessarily against love or a lover, but a lament about the difficulties of sifting through all the baggage surrounding the idea of love and maybe stumbling on the actual thing.

I think to write a good love poem you need to forge an emotional connection with the reader, give them something they can identify with – the excitement of first love, rhythm of comfortable love, bewilderment of failed love. It's easy to be cruel and unkind, especially to yourself, far harder to tap honest love and shove it forth into the light for all to see. Even anti-love was love at one time.

Since National Poetry Month is all about expanding poetic horizons, I have two poems and two poets for you today, both of which I reread and continually find new meaning in their work. For either poet, what seems simple at first look is not, what starts out appearing complex, is really quite simple.

What are some of your favorite love poems, that do not appear that way initially?

The first of my favorite 'love' poems comes from a Christian Mystic, Meister Eckhart. The second is by Robert Penn Warren, and does not seem to be a love poem at all.

But that's the way I see it.

The Hope of Loving
by Meister Eckhart

What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving,
or being loved.

I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey
to find its source, and how the moon wept
without her lover’s
warm gaze.

We weep when light does not reach our hearts. We wither
like fields if someone close
does not rain their


Trying to Tell You Something
by Robert Penn Warren

All things lean at you, and some are
Trying to tell you something, though of some

The heart is too full for speech. On a hill, the oak,
Immense, older than Jamestown or God, splitting

With its own weight at the great inverted
Crotch, air-spread and ice-hung, ringed with iron

Like barrel-hoops, only heavier, massive rods
Running through and bolted, and higher, the cables,

Which in summer are hidden by green leaves—the oak,
It is trying to tell you something. It wants,

In its fullness of years, to describe to you
What happens on a December night when

It stands alone in a world of whiteness. The moon is full.
You can hear the stars crackle in their high brightness.

It is ten below zero, and the iron
Of hoops and reinforcement rods is continuing to contract.

There is the rhythm of a slow throb, like pain. The wind,
Northwest, is steady, and in the wind, the cables,

In a thin-honed and disinfectant purity, like
A dentist’s drill, sing. They sing

Of truth, and its beauty. The oak
Wants to declare this to you, so that you

Will not be unprepared when, some December night,
You stand on a hill, in a world of whiteness, and

Stare into the crackling absoluteness of the sky. The oak
Wants to tell you because, at that moment,

In your own head, the cables will sing
With a thin-honed and disinfectant purity,

And no one can predict the consequences.



Kristopher said...

I love "Trying to Tell You Something." Thanks for posting it.

Constance Brewer said...

You're welcome. Always glad to share the wealth in poets.