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"True, Empty Love" was a poem I wrote in college. While college is the pinnacle for many in regard to their love life, it was the doldrums for me. I have yet to figure out if my pursuit of video games, LARP, and pranks were a result of being in the romantic doldrums, or if the precipitated the condition. But while they were the doldrums for me, I saw "love" thrive all around me. Yet as unobservant as I was, I was perceptive enough to recognize that many of the relationships I saw were pretty shallow. Out of my perspicacious observations, or perhaps out of jealousy, I vented my frustration with the vacuous relationships built on the fleeting foundation of passions alone. But unlike the unhelpful cynic I generally am, I didn't leave my frustrations to stew. I provide what I feel is the correct, biblical view of our depraved human condition and a correct view of what true love should be. Who can know their own hearts? The best we can ever know ourselves is in light of our actions - the fruit borne from the roots we nurture.
Since the first week of April is the week leading up to Catalina's birthday on the sixth, I thought I'd focus the first week's worth of poems on romantic love. The first poem I am sharing is titled "Unspoken." It was the first poem I wrote with Catalina in mind, though it wasn't a poem directed towards her. It was actually a poem that embodied my inner dialogue. I remember sitting in a Mexican airport waiting for a connecting flight back to Mexico City. I was deliberating whether or not I should share with Catalina how I felt. I wasn't a confident individual when it came to romantic pursuits, and I hadn't dated anyone for half a decade.
"Unspoken" is the conclusion of my deliberation. While most discussion of words focuses on how bad it is to say mean words and how good it is to say nice words, my conclusion inverted this idea. In the poem I speak of bad words left unspoken as rising to heaven, as their unspokenness is an honorable thing. But the good words left unspoken do not encounter the same fate. I concluded that to avoid pursuing Catalina with my words could lead to an eternal tragedy, and time has shown me how true that would have been.
I wrote "Time's March of Madness" a few anniversaries ago. It centers around the concept of time - a concept with which I've always had a fascination. Movies like Donnie Darko and Butterfly Effect have always drawn me in. But for as weird as time might be, our normal experience of time is really a pretty depressing thing. James calls our time on earth a vapor. It is fleeting. We know that our time is limited, and the older we get, the faster it seems to go. In this poem I talk about how frustrating it is that moments never last longer than a moment. You cannot hold onto now, as it quickly becomes the past. But at the same time, I temper this with explaining how frustrating life would be if we were stuck in the now. The passage of time creates a blank canvas that not only wipes away ill, but leaves room for the creation of good. Unfortunately, time will also wipe away the good. But that's why we are left with memories. Time allows us to create a future while memories allow us to savor the past.
I saved "My Music" for April 6 since today is Catalina's birthday. This poem is largely about my birth into romantic love. During early adulthood I had not pursued love much, if at all. It became something I thought might never happen for me. But Catalina changed that. "My Music" is metaphorical in that I speak of how my heart seemed like a desert and Catalina caused new life to spring forth in that barrenness. However, it is also real, in that Catalina loves music, and particularly loves singing. Her outward expression of joy and love through her singing brought happiness and love to me as well. She is my muse and my music.
"Perspective" was my fourth sonnet attempt, and it is one of my favorite sonnets I wrote, partly because I think the thoughts are good, but also largely because of nostalgia. I wrote this while I was in Mexico and Catalina was back in Georgia. There were a lot of unknowns during this time and the distance just made things harder. This is my musing about my desire for us to be together. It is also a musing about time and how teasing our experience of time is in that good times seem fleeting while bad times seem to linger.
I wrote "Thar Be Four" for our fourth anniversary, though I don't think I ever shared this with Catalina. It's kind of a weird one. I thought I'd slip it in here on the fourth day of April to keep with the theme. This poem is similar to "Irish for More," which I shared earlier this year. It is a poem read in an accent - a pirate's accent. There are many pirate allusions and it's meant to be a pretty silly thing filled with imagery and double entendres. But at the heart, it also has a serious point. It's a story that tells of me - a little fish in a big pond - finding Catalina. I obviously don't think this was luck or coincidence, but it is amazing when you think of the scope of things. But when we were four years into our marriage, I thought about what time would do to the treasure of our relationship. This amazing treasure we had - us - was something that time had buried. When something gets buried by time, it loses its luster in the mind, just as one’s memory of a buried treasure’s beauty and location dulls with time as well – at least, that’s what I imagine burying treasure would be like. Never done it, though.
All relationships experience the loss of luster as they grow farther and farther from their inception. I wondered to myself - what would time do to our beautiful relationship? I concluded that our treasure may haves seasons in which it seemed faded, it was safe because it had already weathered time. Four years seemed like it had established our relationship, ha ha. But my true assurance came because I knew where our treasure was buried - in the safest place it could be - in two hearts brought together and sustained by almighty God. The vows on our wedding day that acknowledged our commitment and our God – were more than just simple words we said to each other. They are our treasure map – assuring us that no matter how deep our treasure is buried or how faded it may be in our memory, we can always get back to the heart of the island where it is buried.
work week, a leisurely vacation, or anything else, we think about how long an event will last. Sometimes we dwell on the anticipation of something tedious or painful ending, and at other times, it's anxiety at the thought of something great coming to a close. So just like on the day we became newlyweds – and even more so seven years into our vows – I can't help but think about our love as something fantastic that is drawing to a close - at some undetermined time in the future, at least from my perspective.
For those that know me, however, you understand that under my facade of seriousness I am all jokes. To my credit, I can let some very serious things roll off my back and move on with life. But to my debt, the inability to ever take anything with complete seriousness can end up hurting others. In this instance, I think it's to my credit. While I wanted to explore some very serious ideas in this poem, I also wanted to lighten it up a little and have fun with it. I wanted to show that death doesn't kill life while it is being lived. So even when addressing the ending of our lives, such thoughts don't negate the fullness of those lives and our love.