The Heartbreak of Desire is my 5th collection of love poems published annually for Valentine’s day. For more information and to get a free copy (for a limited time only), click here:
Note: This article is excerpted from my 2019 Valentine’s Day e-book collection of love poems, The Heartbreak of Desire. The book explores love as a fluid experience that follows a cycle of desire from lacking to longing to loving to losing. This article is the introduction to the section on longing:
Lacking is the backhand of longing. Lacking turns us inward, spins us like a top, sucks us into the void of our own emptiness. Longing, the burning desire for something or someone, drives us outward and onward. Longing keeps that core of emptiness but funnels it toward the object of desire. It is almost as if the pressure from lacking becomes the driving force, like a steam engine, that can carry us up the highest mountain or across the greatest divide.
Longing is a beautiful expression of the purity of desire, the heart reaching beyond itself, poised in suspense, lingering in the delight of anticipation. It thrives in the gap just prior to fulfillment or disappointment. And that gap is the synaptic junction, the spark plug that powers amazing dreams and drives in those stricken with it. History and literature repeatedly demonstrate the power of unrequited love, the lover longing for the the beloved, even if that beloved has no clue, no interest, or is rejecting. A classic example in Greek mythology is Echo’s undying love of Narcissus and the opposite pairing later in the middle ages in the often unrequited love of chivalrous knights for a lady in whose honor they perform deeds, a theme Cervantes parodied in Don Quixote’s love of Dulcinea.
I have trained myself, over the years, to love this space. I seek it out and actively work to create it in myself. It is only a heart true to itself that is capable of holding a deep desire without the chance of fulfillment. In the moment of “falling,” of letting go and being swept up, we have a chance to go beyond lover and beloved, a chance to find our true “gift,” which is to be love. These moments pass quickly and often painfully unless we have a way of sustaining them and the stamina to do so. This is the domain of longing, of learning to water the tree of life without drowning it out or cutting it down. To live in this space is to be alive, to be longing for and belonging to life. It is the space of creation and the home for poets and romantics throughout time.
What do you long for?
What do long for with such depth and beauty
that you know you will continue
to hold on to your desire even if
the world denies it to you?
For me, poetry is such a longing. I have had many dark nights of the soul when I questioned my love of poetry and my desire to write. But, every time, I come to the same conclusion: I must write no matter how well or how poorly the world receives it. I must follow this muse even when the path seems impassable and the work impossible.
© Nick LeForce
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