An original poem for these times

This photo was taken a few years ago at Duck Harbor Beach in Wellfleet, Mass.

I have found great comfort over the past few years from reading poetry. The way I see it, there are hundreds of poets, and thousands of works that they’ve created—who knows how many there are, even?—and even if I can only make sense of a small fraction of them, I’m still better off than I was before.

A poetry group I’ve been taking part in over the past few weeks has even inspired me to dabble in creating new work of my own. Art is a peaceful and enduring form of protest, after all, and there’s so much going on that’s worthy of a stanza or two.

But that wasn’t on my mind last Saturday morning, as I laid in bed knowing that the day was going on and I would have to force myself to get up and be a part of it.

So I got up to brew myself a pot of coffee, with the poetry assignment was sitting at the front of my brain. I decided that Love was maybe the best muse of all, and every great expression of language has love at its core, so that was going to be what I wrote about.

I then put pen to paper, tweaked a word or two along the way, and by the time the coffee was finished brewing I had a new poem on my hands. It’s definitely not the best that has ever been written, but it really doesn’t have to be that, either. It came from my heart through my brain and out onto a sheet of scratch paper, and now I can type it out to have it breathe on the internet forever. So here goes:

Acting Out Love 

I love so many things in life

Or at least that’s what I say.

I love drinking coffee and sleeping in late

And I love seeing shades of gray

But these are just material things

That I know don’t love me back.

Perhaps loving a living thing, instead

will carry a far more powerful whack

Loving a dog, or a child, or even a friend

Ay, there’s a far more productive act.

And to love someone you do not know

Requires a heart that’s supremely intact

Sharing the words “I love you”

Is an awkward or foolish thing to do.

But acting out this timeless feeling

Means the world to someone and, perhaps, to you.

Sleeping and coffee make an appearance, but they aren’t what the poem is really about. The world needs love in these crazy times of anger and distrust, and if a few words scribbled on a sheet of paper can address this need, then it was a few moments well spent.

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