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Poetry, Love, & Other People

I don’t typically read poetry.  Not that I hate it, or dislike it.  Just doesn’t grab me the way a good song or an insightful piece of literature does.  Today I found a poem that did grab me.

But first, some other thoughts about what I tend to value and not value.  When digging through some keepsakes, I came across a report I wrote in the 4th grade about what I was thankful for.  I named my house (for shelter), trees (for climbing & shade), the lake (for swimming & exploring), school (for learning), and just being alive.

family (2)

Huh, I thought, that’s a good list.  It wasn’t until I went to my family to share the list that I realized what was missing.  Family.  Friends.  Other people.

I suppose I should be chagrined by the absence, yet I’m not surprised.  I’m typically a quiet person who appreciates her own company.  Trees, bodies of water, my home, learning, and a sheer love of being alive still ARE my greatest source of solace and renewal. And I do value my friends and family.  Tremendously.  If asked what I’m thankful for today, both would make the list.  Maybe it sounds strange, but I think I had to learn to not take others for granted.

It’s taken many years to get here, but I now have groups of friends, communities that I’m a part of, and individuals that I trust implicitly and would do anything for.  All of these people are my home.  My teachers.  I still love my quiet times with the trees, water and sunlight.  My thirst for introspection and learning will never be sated.  But it’s relationships that fill my thoughts and what prompted me to crack the cover of A General Theory of Love.

Which is where I found this poem:

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
poetry.

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line.  They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem.  I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand time, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
lines

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,
for

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that,
most of all.

–Denise Levertov, “The Secret”

 

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