On one of those nights that I couldn’t sleep, and was thinking about loves past, I wrote a poem. Something I do once every few years. I dreamed about someone long since gone. I thought about romantic loves and platonic loves past. I reflected on those that I’d screwed up and those that had ended because of things I couldn’t control: time, distance, illness and death. And also about women that I still love, even if it’s unilateral. I thought “Love” in the romantic sense which includes passion and all the other wonderful aspects of love but is a narrower, more fragile thing than love itself.
Elizabeth Kubler Ross, the noted author of Death and Dying, who did much to contribute to the science of understanding death and the grieving process, isn’t usually considered to be much of a romantic. But something she wrote once struck me about mourning struck me as very poignant.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Some loves feel like that. You could simply take out the word “grieve” and put in “love” and it would still work. If there was ever a moment when you so deeply loved the other that their happiness was more important to you than your own–and they felt the same way–then maybe that was ‘true love’? For that moment. And how what was once true, ever become a lie?
It made me think a little on what was love before we even could talk about it. Would it exist any less if it could not be voiced? And here you have my poem. Another one coming in another ten years.
Love In A Time Before Words
How did we love each other in the time before words?
Did we profess our feeling in our eyes or in the movements of our hands?
How did we swear our faith to our lovers? What made us laugh in the dark, in the night, in the morning hours?
What did we fight over without verbal provocations?
Did we quarrel over the time spent stroking the backs of our beloved, by grunts or cold shoulders? Interpretive signage?
What did the romantic suppers taste like with no dinner table conversation?
What are we without the means of expressing our opinions and
How could we lie to each other without any words to do so?
–And would the absence of lies really make for true love?
If we loved each other in the time before words,
Would we even know that it was “love” at all?
Would our romantic poems be a hot cup of tea?
an extra blanket, a lingering touch, cold water brought on a hot day…
Would we still love each other in the time before words,
And would love unspoken, be any less real for being so?
You only have to ask the question,
If you already know the answer.
Before we had ever spoken,
You already knew there was no need to ask.
And that was love in a time before words
And that is our time now.
As it has been before, as it will be again.
In this warm silence together, there is nothing left unsaid.