I can trace our falling out
To the day she failed to hear me
When I said, “I am afraid of failure
But the prize is worth the risk,”
And, said she, wholeheartedly,
“I agree, that nothing’s worse
I failed to hear her first, of course,
As she had not heard me,
And so I blundered on and said
I needed her beside me
To push me on, despite the chance
That I might stumble and collapse
Into the mire of failure.
She took my hand and smiled at me
And said, “Of course, I’ll do anything
To keep you from the airy paths,
To pull you back when you come, free,
To the precipice of failure.”
And so our road divided when
We faced a choice of cliff or fen:
I said, “Well, push me on,” and she
Cried out, “no, wait, come back to me!”
We curse each other still, and wince
At failures that have followed since
From follies that could not be seen
For fear of courting failure.
The feeling of love is something passing
And mine is so impure
Like a rock that keeps on floating
Somehow my heart
Keeps on reaching for the air
I am not afraid
Of some mindless trepidation, but
A genuine concern:
I’ve given up so many times
So many times, my metal’s bent
My blade’s gone dull
Am I rusting?
What will purify my soul?
I want so much
But can I give?
What if my mind begins to wander?
What if feelings fade?
What if night supercedes the day?
Can I count on mere commitment
To keep me in the way?
What have I doing
have gone, have been
Who do I think I am?
Where am I going
have doing, am been
What am I believing in?
Somewhere on the middle road
I found a place of sunshine
air and wind.
No place beneath my falling feet
to satisfy my tumbling sent.
What puzzles me is when I’m falling
Head over heels and back again
That I cannot find a resting place
‘Tween heels and hands and eyes.
Have I stumbled, or can I fly?
I cannot sleep during the day. I find
It difficult and pointless, dimming that
Intense fire that is my awareness to
Some peaceful lull that is half way between
A slumber and awake, where you both dream
Your dreams and think about them; then to lay
Away my book, which I had long since left
Off reading, drifting into some decayed,
Warm slumber in the middle of the day.
I once had thought of people who took naps
Like Walden’s railroad sleepers: vainly laid
In mud to let the ruckus of the world
Run over them, but Constance sleeps like love,
And nothing in the world can run her by.
She rises early in the morning, light—
Her brightest hour, and in that moment rests,
At peace, and yet still burning. It’s in that
Moment of quiet intensity that
She sets the tempo for her day. With spade
In hand she weeds the garden of her mind,
And sets the world to dancing.
I have failed
To ever see her in the morning, fast
Asleep in bed, to know if she awakes
With starts, or calm and quiet ease, but I
Have seen her sleeping in the day. She lies
Behind me while I work, her curve of hip
Exaggerated by the straightness of
The bed. I steal a moment’s peace and sit
Beside her, wrap my arm around her own,
And in the partial knowledge of her sleep,
She pulls my hand close to her heart.
She manages to sparkle even while
She sleeps—to burn and yet still slumber. She’s
So different from me, and yet she’s the same.
She turns to sleep so she may wake again
It was two weeks from when she gave me love
In a little porcelain puppy figurine
To the time she called him back again
I never cared for dogs.
I had one once, who when he died
I rejoiced that he was finally free
Of the mindless neglect that I had given him
Not so this ceramic token
He had the highest honor in my house
I dusted him and cleaned his feet
I watched him, as he watched me
Waiting for the phone to ring
So I could see her face
And make her laugh again
I meant to marry her—she had said yes
But never felt like going out to buy a ring
Waited a week to tell her parents
Another week till she told me
And demanded back everything she had given
Whether word or deed
I argued, but she said no
I couldn’t keep a single memory
It was three months before I gave up the habit
Of gnawing through my cheek
And three years now, when I have finally forgot
But sometimes I still wonder
If she was offended or even cared
That I unglued the paper base
From that porcelain figurine
And if she kept, or threw away
Her little love for me
My love leads me to dissipation: I
Lie listless, moping, thinking how I would
Surround you with my arms and lay my head
Upon your breast and watch the clouds obscure
The sun, which then obscures the stars. My day’s
Work lies beside me, rotting, left untouched,
Untended, as I tend to you and balk
At all the things I thought I loved when I
Imagined you, but would not trust in God.
I could not make myself believe in you.
Your love outshines me: I cannot compete
With everything you’ve given me—yet I
Refuse to be so easily undone.
Your love is pearl, and mine is steel—a love
That’s common, though refined, but does not seem
To match the ornament that I would like
To grasp. But I will beat this iron till I
Can call it something rare, which may be said
Competes with silver. Call the alchemists!
If what was once called gold is lead, it can
Be changed again. So I will prove my love’s
As good as yours.
It’s not impossible.
New elements have been unearthed before,
And compounds thought incredible have been
Found preexisting in a natural state.
Then cannot this new element that is
Between us be compounded naturally?
I will not say it is impossible,
For I believed in God and found in you
What I imagined.
I believe in you