Crazy Little Thing Called Love (with a poem)

Happy Valentine’s Day! A day dedicated to this crazy thing called love.

But why “crazy”? you ask. What do you mean by that?

Because nobody knows what causes it. And you risk ruining it by examining it too closely.

Because what else could it be but crazy to open your heart and show someone else what’s in it?

Because loving someone—or something—is the biggest risk you can ever take. If they don’t fail you, the world might. Life happens all around us every single day. And it happens to all of us in different ways all at the same time.

Because if you let love into your heart, it will take up all the space there—and if life happens to the subject of your love in a way that takes it away, the emptiness might just become a black hole that sucks you into the void.

So why, then? If it’s such a big risk, why do we do it? Why do we search for love? Why do we willingly plunge into the risky waters of love?

No one knows. And certainly no one knows better than the poets that no one knows. In his aptly titled poem “Poem”, e.e. Cummings said:

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

I like this and I feel like it comes closer to identifying the what and the why better than anything I’ve ever read. It’s like “The Force” in Star Wars. Love underlies everything, is everything, the one superhuman strength that you can’t really identify but it’s really there. It makes us stronger and weaker at the same time.

Love—whether it’s for parent, sibling, child, spouse, pet or all things—is the way we connect most intimately with the world. The more we feel, the closer we are to the universe. The more we open ourselves up to love, the more risk we are willing to take for the love—the more fragilely strong we become.

A Million (and 1) Things to Love

By Michelle Garren Flye

Where is love?

Songs simplify,

Poems complicate.

But love is there.

Reach for it.

The love of saving,

The love of believing,

The love of finding.

Love fleeting,

Love flying,

Love staying.

The world is full.

All around you, things to love.

Objects for affection.

A cat, a dog, a child.

A rose, a plant, a sunset.

A soul mate for the very lucky.

Hope will find love.

Trust will strengthen love.

Faith will keep love safe.

Reach for it.

Hold it tight in your heart—

And hope it doesn’t

Break

You

Open.

Just Spring is over… Share your favorite poem with me!

For those who don’t know, April is National Poetry Month. This year I’ve celebrated by teaching some amazing kids about poetry. It’s been fun, rewarding and, at times, truly amazing.

But I digress. Last week we wound up our study with a look at concrete poetry, which gave me the opportunity to share e.e. cummings’s haunting “[In Just-]“. I’ve always loved this poem and read it regularly to see what else I can discover about it. I remember the first time a teacher displayed this poem on the overhead projector and I was so puzzled by it. I was just getting used to poetry that looked like poetry and here was this crazy mishmash of unrhymed, strangely patterned words.

And yet, it’s the poem I come back to most often when I think about poetry. And it’s the poem I think of when the world is mud-luscious and starting to warm up and the flowers aren’t blooming yet but you know they will… Just spring.

Perhaps the world does us an injustice by making just spring so short a time. It’s over here now, ending with the brief month of April. The first flowers are past their bloom, the mosquitoes are beginning to bite. Summer and pool time and the beach and lazy days are coming. We’re all looking forward to it, but we’ll miss those first days of spring.

Next year when March and April come around, though, I look forward to again listening for the far and wee whistle of the little lame balloon man. And in the meantime, I’ll watch for the seeds I planted this April to sprout and grow.Image What’s your favorite poem? Share it with me in the comments!