In honour of Valentine’s Day, slash, commercialized love day, I’d like to share my favourite love poem. Well, it’s actually my favourite poem, which just happens to be a love poem–quelle surprise! (I’m trying to relearn French and display how well-versed I am in other languages… I took French in university (twice), but only because I had to. I’m also trying to relearn Lao and Thai. What am I talking about? Right.) So… my favourite poem is a love poem by ee cummings.
I have not come across another poem that is able to describe the maddening and soothing nature of love so eloquently. Although, I have a handful of love poems that are very dear to me, this one would have to be at the top. I hope to one day write a poem that is even a shade as beautiful as the following, even though Rainer Maria Rilke warns young poets against this endeavour: “Do not write love-poems; avoid at first those forms that are too facile and commonplace: they are the most difficult, for it takes a great, fully matured power to give something of your own where good and even excellent traditions come to mind in quantity” (16).
So until then, I’ll try my hand at some contrived and overwrought love poems. But here’s a love poem that brings insight and beauty to the highest level.
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond by ee cummings
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. Trans. M. D. Herter Norton. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 1954.