Many times, I have thought to write
a poem about love. I always falter,
words fail me, and I fall shy of the mark.
Ask me to write about beauty
and my pen will flow for days.
Ask me to write about life
and I will be on it in a moment.
Yes, I can write and have written
love poems, but no poems about love.
I fear I am not equal to the task,
that I am not a worthy vessel
for such dazzling beauty,
that I have lived too selfishly
and sinned too frequently
for love to speak through me.
So for days, I have been tongue-tied,
riveted to doubt, walking stoop-shouldered
with my eyes cast down into the dirt of my life.
Each moment I tender my heart to love,
I feel a mighty storm brewing and I tremble
because I am too small for what I am called to do.
I find reassurance from a pinhole in paper
that can save my eyes from blindness
when looking at the sun.
I find comfort from stars bigger than our own sun
that appear only as tiny flickering points of light
in the night sky.
I give my word that I will live as love requires,
trembling at the thought that love requires everything.
I start down this path and know there is no turning back
because love is not the answer.
Love is the question
to which my life is the answer.
We've all heard and we may even have spoken the famous line that "Love is the answer." I could not find a source for this quote in a cursory search on the internet. Enter the phrase "love is the answer" and you get over 330,000,000 hits and almost 14,000,000 hits for "love is the answer quote." None of the etymology dictionary sources I checked offered a history or origin for the phrase.
Love is such an overwhelming and powerful force that it is taken as the ultimate solution for all challenges. And it may be. But the phrase that "love is the answer" is so overused that it has become threadbare. It provides nothing but distraction.
I composed this poem when challenged to write about love in an online writing class with Roger Housden. I had written many love poems, but I had never written about love. It was a daunting and frightening assignment. I was riddled with self-doubt: Who was I to speak of something so divine? I thought of the phrase, love is the answer. Many people have supplied questions to which this phrase might apply. To me, the whole pursuit is backwards, love is not the answer, it is the question to which our lives are the answer. For me, it comes down to this: How well do I answer the question of love in the living of my life?
How do you answer the question of love
in the living of your life?
Please share your thoughts and comments below.
Click here to read a blog post excerpted from my e-book of love poems, At First Sight.
© Nick LeForce
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