“For if you desire anything which is not in our power, you must be unfortunate,” says the philosopher Epictetus. Yet, a thousand times unfortunate for desiring you and not having you, than one time fortunate for not desiring you at all. I welcome the fate of your unrequited love, and bless it as a higher fate any other in which I have not known your love at all.
When I am filled with so much emotion, when I want to cry but cannot, music comes in to fill my soul, like water falling into the cracks of my being, and something unspeakable wells up inside of me and rises up, a gentle fog filled with so much rain, aching for the touch of your face.
Lived simply, in deep attention and presence, a life can be so full that its echo reverberates to the stillness of the stars — the garden’s dust on my shoes, a good book, a cup of aged wine, and your face, beloved, hovering around all things like a cloud, their inner light, their intimate aura. I write to you today as the sun sets over another autumn day, as the wind withers away the leaves and grass leaving nature and my thoughts bared down to their essence. Time is moving and life is trickling away, yet a deeper stillness is settling in my heart. It feels to me as though, if I lift my hand, I could almost touch your face; as though the warmth of your breath is mingled with mine. This silence is a prayer. I listen to the wind in the yellowing leaves. I write another poem penned with the ink of your love.
Long after you were gone I still went to bed with your ghost every night, making love to nothing more than a memory, to my need for you, to all the ways in which I dreamed you and constructed you in my mind. I fashioned you out of light and poetry, out of pure passion, an unreal being that I now had to let go, to let you fly and vanish amid the turning stars. Now I let you go and deepen in this longing turning like a universe at the center of my heart.
Choose her from a place of strength and abundance of love, because your heart does not tire from gazing into the mystery of her eyes, because she enlivens your soul and with her light fills up your life. Choose her because you want to be her anchor and safe house, because you want to cradle her desires and dreams, because you are so full in your love for her that you are able to make her overflow with love and light. Choose her because you want her with your whole heart.
How should I describe my feelings for you?—a fire burning wildly, tearing through a blossoming garden, yet, somehow, leaving it greener and more fragrant than it was before, budding with new varieties of trees, fruits, and flowers!
The cedar tree has three to four times its height above the earth as a root spreading underneath it. I, in my visible form, what length does my root have, and what is it spreading into? Who would believe me, beloved, when I say that my root is invisible, that it does not stretch directly from my body, but rather, somehow, extends through the inwardness of my heart? Who would believe me when I say that through my heart it spreads into your earth and sky, and that the poem is the most accurate tool to measure its length and the most valuable proof for its existence? Who would believe me? Yet the ultimate truths cannot be heard or touched; they can be only felt and understood through the medium of the heart. What are you, then, you into whom my root spreads so deep, and what is the nature of the desire that propels it into you? You are the eternal moment of love; you are the openness of the heart.
Ever since I met you I stopped writing and opened my heart more and more to the brilliance of your light. One day in a single shared breath I hope to achieve what poets long for in a thousand, thousand poems written in the deep ache of the night. One day, carried by your waves to the shore of no return, I hope that your light in my depth uncovers the secret face of love, the sun of joy that everyone, knowingly or unknowingly, long for every single breath of their lives. I stopped writing because I no longer need to. Whatever words come they rise from the source which your light like a key has unlocked in my heart.
One moment with you, however fleeting, is preferable to an achievement that would immortalize my name. The dust of your love is a better reward than the world and its riches, which men so adore. Lover, my longing for you is the only constant in an ever changing world, and if I have to call you by one word it would be this: Openness. You are the openness of my heart, and a world flung open in the arms of God.
the camellias of her breath
flowering in my soul
Once I needed to touch you in order to feel you. Then the mere thought of you invaded me and soaked my soul. Now I realize, I am a flame rising from that which lies between us, the white chasm of love. Now I realize, to think of you or not to think of you is a false paradox — the sun and the moon, even out of sight, are always in each other’s company; the thread does not bind us outwardly; we rise from each other; in each other we live and die; we are the creative thought of love.
Poetry has delivered me into the intuition of her light – She is God’s divine light shining through me. I feel her and I feel into the heart of being. And the words that then arise are like the foam rising from that experience, her in me, me taken into her. That is how it feels in my heart. And so poetry whispers – light is what we are. Words are like veils lifting, leaving us in the embrace of the naked experience underneath. The more we open to the experience, the light, the more our words change and deepen. I exist as this act of deepening into this light. This, for me, is poetry. And the light is her; the radiance of the divine.
Tell them I spent my life banished amid the pages of books, reading, feverishly, fluttering like a firefly amid words of darkness and light. Tell them that in the pages of books I found myself entangled like a bee stuck in honey, like a lover’s fingers in his beloved’s hair. Tell them that, contrary to what they think, it is no wasted life, it is a life of solitary abundance, a life of living at the source of what makes humanity great, and what makes life worth striving for, worth living. Tell them that I have been blessed, to read, to be able to read a fragment of that which is truly, spiritually great. Tell them that in an age of anxiety, of spiritual crisis, I have dared, through books, to gaze at the future, to imagine a different future, and that through these visions I strived to birth and live my life, my present, my spirit and state of mind. Tell them, beloved, that amid the pages of books I have loved and been loved, made friendships the likes of which are so rare on earth, shed tears, oh so bitter tears, rejoiced and found a joy that is simple like flowers and grass growing in a fallow field. Tell them, beloved.
Je suis un flâneur dans le corps de la femme unique. S’il y a de l’herbe, des déserts, des îles, des montagnes, des forêts, des cités, des histoires, des galaxies, et des immensités, c’est toujours dans son corps, et voilà la passion secrète qui est l’élan vitale de mon esprit, ma vie, et mon humble poème.
Ma conscience du monde c’est monde en tant que femme, corps et cœur de femme, l’infini et l’éternel de ses entrailles, de son essence, l’océan qu’elle est, et qui est le défi pour l’homme et le marin en moi. La femme ne peut jamais être conquis, acquis, elle effleure seulement dans l’acte de danser avec elle, lui écrire des poèmes, voyageant ses horizons océanique avec ma virile conscience et passion. Une femme n’a pas de fin. Sa présence brûle comme l’encens dans le cœur de Dieu. Et alors, je la poursuis, je l’aime jusqu’à la mort, au-delà de toute mort.
I feel the press of your breasts and soft skin around me, everywhere, coaxing me to flower into you the erection of my body, the life of my poetry. Your light comes in flashes of intuition, falling upon my face as through the sunlit openings of an orchard, and I heed with the attentiveness of my whole body, the animal soul in me. Your dew falls like an erotic enchantment and a buoyancy comes like a fountain rising from the depth of my soul; suddenly I find myself harnessed in shafts of wheat upon the altar of your body, ready to burn, ready to become dough and bread, ready to feed upon the milk of your breasts and the honey of your skin. Your body is the world, the element I am living in, moving through, and this eros, this tension between us mercilessly opens me and challenges me to become in the thrust the man that I am. So I take you, as I give myself to you, as through you I slingshot myself into the sky of eternity.
Woman of silk and fire, woman of milk and honey suckling my wildest desire.
Woman, by virtue of being woman, casts a light upon the world — and we poets, aware and ravished by the sacredness of her ray, find our hearts burning and our words rising like smoke from within the burning. And what do all poets hope for?—well, their life at its deepest root aches to get to the source of her light, to travel her white stream upward and back into the source, the core. This, poets with a fine intuition know can only be achieved through and with a single woman. Women are many but woman, in a sense, is one. The woman the poet loves, writes his heart to, and in whose light he lives is one and provides him with the highest possible unification of life. Through her he asserts himself and reaches his peak and harmonizes his strength; through her he becomes more than a poet, he becomes a man, and, dare I say, achieves his freedom and independence of women. He finds his calling in the arms of the greatest woman of all — life. What woman entices him from now on?—the woman whose light is so ravishing that, in her presence, he feels that the physical world cannot contain him anymore. You, my love, are such a woman.
The earth looks on, a heavy longing in her eyes; tears hang full on the naked branches of the trees; and in the birdsongs the white roar of winter is already heard. Autumn is deep, pressed on by the cracking whips of the winter winds. And I, with my candle burning, with my book and my cup of silence, weave words in my fingers and pretend they are the dark curls of your hair. Your breath drifts on, the smoke of burning grass over empty fields. I gaze again into the infinite distances surrounding me and hear your voice calling from everywhere. Oh my love, what have you done to me? This ache for you is a wound that wants to heal; and yet, whenever its crust hardens, whenever its lips are about to mend, your fingers, white as winter snow, soft as moonlight, peel through its layers again and teach me the meaning of poetry. The candle is burning out; the incense stick is uttering its final breath; and the camp of the night has laid its siege. Give me patience, teach me how to wait, and let me burn with the oil of your longing. Let me be the moon on the curve of your lips.
What is my heart?—A garden where each flower whispers your name. O beloved, my heart is garden drunk with your name. And what the flowers whisper like a prayer charged with incense fills to overflow the sacred cup of dawn. My heart is no longer a reliable mirror to hold up against the world and behold its face, for it is now fashioned with the fires of your name. So my heart sees you everywhere, in each nook and corner, into the widest sky infuses your presence. Through the hidden door you have come into my life and have swept me out into a place without roof and walls. And now, as autumn sets in and as the leaves begin to fall, as the lesson of transience and ephemerality is given once more, your love carves a deeper truth in me, and gives me back to the world as a man born to live the ways of your love.
Every time I look at you my eyes glisten with the shyness of that first time I saw you; my eyes which can never get used to you and reduce you to a habit, a known object, something wholly understood and incorporated. So a mystery in you remains, the mystery, and the more my gaze sails towards your receding horizons the more I yearn to live in your unsolvable depths. Again and again I could see you for an infinite number of times, and each time something new would reveal itself in you, like a poem come to life. And, my love, what would this transcript be if not the poetry of my life.
I want to touch you but how can I touch you?—you are wider than the sky, deeper than the sea. Yet, despite my inability, touching you is a yearning deeper than my life, more primal than my soul. So I reach for you, always, and I always fail. Yet with each failure I’m a little more open, a little more worthy of your infinite grace. With each failure my heart breaks a little wider and a little deeper, cupping more and more of your infinite grace. With each failure I stand before you a little more naked, yet a little more robed with a cloth weaved of the light of your face. And I shiver like a candle’s flame that knows all too well the intimate secret of the boundless night. I shiver and I tell poetry to go away, for words cannot console me. I shiver and at your door stand holding my heart for a bowl, waiting patiently for the alms of your silence. Ah, forgive me, beloved, for in loving you I forgot myself. I thought myself salt and you showed me my origin in the deeps of your sea. I thought myself narrow and you showed me the boundless expanse of my soul as you stretched my ribs to merge them with your sky. I thought myself alive and living the life and yet when I tasted you I realized how dead I was. When I tasted you I died and into your life was heralded. Now I tremble in your soil, now I spill with your light.
Letter to my Beloved
Long before I met you I named you, Sofia; and your name, more than anything else, was an image grafted into my soul, a spaciousness wider than the sky. Sofia, you, the age of silence, a blue herald from beyond the ancient hills. Your hair, a forest floor covered in brown leaves, and a stream flowing by troubling the silence, hurling the being deeper in a sea of reveries. Your smile, shy and luring, eve’s apple holding the ancient promise; knowledge, in your bosom, the primal sin, the jewel for which man offers his blood for harvest and then sows it, red roses in your hair, red eddies swirling your soul a boundless sea.
You are not a person; you are the place I can never leave. Loving you is awakening in myself your eternal presence, and realizing how, from birth to death, I am submerged inside of you. I feel you pulse in me as though you were the root nurturing my soul, wedding me into a poem of belonging celebrating you as the effervescence of all there is. Seeking you is but a pigment of the imagination, an illusion of the soul, for you are here, now, always and forever, this lived moment, this translucent veil through which I see and am seen, this dynamic, invisible medium eternally at work as it shapes and reshapes life in the bosom of existence. Now the wave breaks, and its froth scatters on the shore of silence. Now your breath becomes ink and blood and fire, and my veins the flower blooming on your skin.