When I first read this poem by old soul and big heart Steve Marsh, while I intellectually understood it as a poem about love of the “between true lovers” variety, I kept intuiting a love letter to and with the Universe as well. I wonder what you will think…
A Work in Progress
I woke this morning with that shadow feeling I’d
significant dreams –
Strong and powerful,
Richly full of meaning.
But I was unable to recall them no matter how
hard I tried.
Chasing them only makes it worse,
Like groping for the other tennis shoe
Lost under the bed
Just beyond my reach,
Closing my hand on something,
To discover it is only
So much dust and dog hair.
I closed my eyes,
And reached for that familiar place.
But the Universe asked me a question.
Why do I continue to love you?
And I begin to answer immediately because
Confidence is the feeling we have before we
understand the situation.
Why in the face of all we have seen,
and failed to see in each other,
Do we persevere?
I begin to understand it is a matter of pride.
And pride is, after all,
what we have.
Vanity is what others have.
So in pride or vanity I offer:
I love you because I have always loved you.
And the Universe knows this is not a whole truth.
It knows it like it knows we cannot pray a lie.
I try again.
I love you because of all we have been through
And the Universe does not like this cliché any
It asks, with all the Aristotelian logic it can
Do you not manifest “all that you have been
The Universe knows and will not let me get away
with half a truth.
We have been through “all that”
Because we have put each other through “all
It asks another question:
How can you assert love after all you have seen?
The helplessness after surgeries;
The weakness in the face of adversity;
The cowardice in the face of confrontation;
Nakedness at forty,
Nakedness at fifty?
The knowledge that the final solution does not
And I begin, in answer, to list the qualities I
admire in you:
But the Universe will not allow this equivocation
And because the Universe is a big believer in the
Why do I love my dog?
I confess to perceiving a similar list.
The Universe sends me the spring songbirds
Who sing, and feed,
who show me community in bright colors
And high energy.
The birds know nothing of our sorrow.
And the Universe asks again,
In the face of this sorrow, why do I continue to
It is not because Mothers are better than Fathers.
It is not because women are better than men.
It is not because teaching is better than poetry.
It is not because daughters are better than
And slowly, the answer,
Or rather the understanding that there is no
Begins to reveal itself to me.
There is no aetiology for love.
I do not love you because
I do not love you in spite of
I do not love you since
I do not love you in so much as
I do not love you for the reason that
There is no reason,
No syllogistic proof.
It simply is.
I love you.
It comes about without cause
And with luck it is returned
That is why love fits more aptly into poetry than
It is not revealed to the mind through the eye.
It comes to the heart, through the nose and the
The old poet had it right.
“Do not go gentle…”
Even here in this moment of doubt
I don’t give up.
I do not go gentle,
Down by two in the bottom of the 9th,
I will take one more god damned pitch!
And even if I fail,
We will play again tomorrow.
The story of my life is told between parentheses
which you open and you close.
And inside those parentheses is one word.
It is (Hope).
by Steve Marsh