The Love That Would Not Let Go

This man won’t leave me alone

I’ve said I don’t want his love;

That He can’t buy my heart

He keeps saying he’s not trying to

He says if I’d only look I’d see

That it was never his plan

“All I offer is love” he says

But I’ve been there done that

They all offer love don’t they?

And then when it’s done

You’re left high and dry.

No I won’t!

I won’t do it

I won’t give my heart away.

He can have my body;

The actions and motions

But not my heart –

Sealed within a wall of iron,

Barricaded with titanium bars

Kept within a high tower

Surrounded by a stream

Across which a moat will no longer come

a secure fortress

Previously conquered,

now regained.

He’ll have to reach it first!

 

But does this suitor stop?

No he’s unyielding as a rock

Persistent, insistent

He assures me that if I experience his love

I won’t want to let go

Ego I call that

What makes him think he’s better than any of them?

The other ones who’ve wooed and wounded

Who’ve reached and ravaged

Who’ve accessed and abandoned

What makes him think I find him that attractive?

What makes him think he stands a chance?

What weight does his love carry that it should even be considered?

 

So I decide to take him on, play with him a bit

Like I’ve often been played with

So I say “Prove your love, get me that and that and that”

 

He says “First understand my dear

This love I offer is so much more than gifts

Don’t cheapen it with your demands”

 

Ah! A tight-fisted one it seems

For all his profession of undying love,

He can’t put his money where his mouth is

“Shame on you” I say,

“So much for love,

All it took was a few demands and the proverbial wind has exposed the fowl’s nakedness”

 

“Not so my dear” he says,

I am not unable to give you

I only warn that you’ll never know the depth of my love if you choose to remain in this place of demand and supply

You’ve asked the others and they’ve given you and they’ve made demands and you’ve had to yield in turn.

But I only ask that you know my love first, possessions you can always have.

Indeed the things you ask will soon be nothing but shadows when the substance of my love is known.”

 

“Oh please!

Your love! Your love! Your love!

What exactly is this love pray tell?

Go on speak up!

Why are you suddenly quiet?

Can your love not be explained?

I’ve actually never had any of the others define their love, but for all your talk, this should be interesting.”

 

“My love you ask my dear?”

 

“Yes your love” I retort

 

“My love is the sunshine

My love is the raindrops

My love is the rhythmic routine of your heart

My love is the rising and falling of a baby’s chest in sleep

My love is the grace to go on everyday

My love is the gift of sleep at day’s end, it’s the miracle of waking up.

My love is your heart’s journey towards the homeless and the suffering –

though you deny that I exist because suffering does.

My love is in the formation of bone and organ from a tiny speck in someone’s hot and airless womb.

My love is in the fact that above all of these and more I came to die for you

It wasn’t the nails that held me up my dear, it was that which I am attempting to define –

Yes, my love.

 

My love is in the fact that I took the place of bulls and goats and ultimately of all of man to make a payment which none could afford.

My love is in the stripes, the pain, the shame, the curse…

More so my love is in the liberty that it was all to bring.

My love is in the light that enters a darkened life when the payment is accepted.

 

My love is in the fact that with all that I make no demands –

I love you – with your grime, your guilt, your past, your shame, your fears, your failures, your anxieties – yourself.

My love is in this: I delight in weakness, it doesn’t repel me.

No, it attracts me, because my love is the strength that takes its place.

 

My love is so much more; not easily expressed, best experienced.

My love my dear is eternal.

None can take it away, none can give it like I do.

You can’t reduce the love I have for you,

and you can’t commend yourself to receive a greater portion of it.

My dear, I love you. This love is really all I have to give.”

 

I stuttered…I started, then stopped. I couldn’t comprehend it.

My heart beat faster than normal, my mouth was dry.

Because I knew in the innermost part,

I was convinced of this one thing than I had ever been of anything: this love was true.

It was so true, so clear, and so startlingly bright,

I unconsciously raised my hand that I might hide my face from its glow.

 

“Why?” I croaked.

 

“Because I love you”

 

“I mean why do you…indeed why would you love me?”

 

“Because I love you”

 

“You don’t follow me do you?

I’m undeserving of this love,

if you can’t tell from my words so far, surely you can tell from my life till now?

 

My suitor smiled, “I know every single detail about you.

I knew before I professed my love. It changes nothing.”

 

He held my gaze and then declared

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

To this I had no words.

What defence I had in place was broken down

What boundaries I had set were quickly cast aside.

 

His love called, my heart answered.

 

No one had ever been able to define their love for me

When they had tried, I cut them to pieces before they’d even finished.

It had all been so fake, so stereotyped; so bland.

But this one, this one was not so.

It was alive. It was impassioned. It was true.

It was complete, yet there was more to be discovered.

 

I looked at him and I dared to say a phrase hitherto foreign to my lips,

yet seemingly made for them:

“I love you too.”

 

My heart was sold. My suitor had stood the test.

This love that had not let me go, I know will never let me go.

Hand in his, I take a step – the first of many,

As I discover life in the fullness of my lover’s love.

[2008]

 

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