I have been in love more times than one,
thank the Lord. Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or not. Sometimes
it was all but ephemeral, maybe only
an afternoon, but not less real for that.
They stay in my mind, these beautiful people,
or anyway beautiful people to me, of which
there are so many. You, and you, and you,
whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe
missed.Love, love, love, it was the
core of my life, from which, of course, comes
the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women
and some—now carry my revelation with you—
were trees. Or places. Or music flying above
the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best, the most
loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into
my eyes, every morning. So I imagine
such love of the world—its fervency, its shining, its
innocence and hunger to give of itself—I imagine
this is how it began.
So today is Valentine’s Day, the day of hearts and flowers and schmaltzy or sincere messages for some. But it is also an opportunity to consider love in the broader, deeper sense and this poem of Mary Oliver’s speaks eloquently and importantly to that, to ‘that condition that allowed humans to dream of God’ as Maya Angelou said.
Love, love, love, it was the / core of my life she says. We see this over and over in her poems, about people, beautiful to her, who she loved maybe only / an afternoon, but not less real for that. And trees, places, music, clouds, and the sun which was the first, and the best, the most / loyal for certain.
And finally, she imagines for us love of the world – its fervency, its shining, its / innocence and hunger to give of itself. I read those words over and over and cannot imagine a more poetic description of love and all it has to offer. And so, let us imagine this is how it began. No need to wait until February 14 next year.