Love is not a Rose but a Choice


The marriages that last are the ones in which the two members regularly develop (but do not act upon) extramarital infatuations.

I read that today in Maria Popova’s review of The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits in Brain Pickings. What is it about love’s excess that it cannot be contained in one person, for one person, that we need to spread its spillage on to still others and other things in so many shapes and forms? What is this thing that we toss at humans, materials and ideas indiscriminately? I love my children, my new car and Shakespeare’s sonnets with strength and passion and tenderness. Yes, the car too (when I had a new one). Love is the excess, the overflow, always needing outlet. We live in the throes of love. Anti-love is its darker side though no less derivative of love. 

This, of course, makes sense — we know that love is a mode of “interbeing” and a “dynamic interaction” in which the opportunity to choose each other over and over is what sustains the longevity of a couple’s bond.

Love is a choosing
not a rose so named
a choice of days
one which I choose 
and you choose
hopefully together
maybe the same day
to select you, me
as your moor and mate
coddle and cure
each day every day
when the mood strikes
smiting sense and pride
plucking at frayed seams
with disdainful eyes
yet believing still
in inversion’s conversion
a matter of mind
in the seeing eye
inside the skull
crossbones of ill
to parallel sides
arm in armed
concave to convex
a tilt of the head
changing the slant
of the inner sight
so that you see
me seeing you
we two knowing
hearing the sign
buzzing our nerves
caring as showing
inside out wearing
learning unlearned
a parent’s sharing
poking a shoulder
warning a glance
ruling an unruly mind
guilt and pain aside
teaching an oath
swearing a lesson
picking a courtesy
bowing a head
in shame we learn
in obedience we sit
before a flag and stares
the history of living
the meaning of love
the trick of getting by
love is learned 
and then unlearned
and truly it is
the equation of love
I love you and me
I understand me
understanding you
since love is this
this understanding
that to love so
is to love me 
loving me
loving you
who are all
of us.

2 Replies to “Love is not a Rose but a Choice”

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