caught holding one end of a love

I have gotten caught
holding one end of a love;
that connection looping in air
swung loose and empty.
they say spirit does not die,
or love; both simply twist together
freed finally from body
like a snake leaves spent skin
or an empty chrysalis slept in too long
and split

sighing, we grow
out of flesh when it weakens
and can no longer hold
the all of us, spirit too big
for what matter is  left to hold it

people end, but not relationships:
when your father drops, and your mother;
when a land is lost, or a time,
and your friend blotted out, gone

sometimes, in our leaving
we stretch out hands
or the equivalent of hands
touching nothing,
and you dying
reach with similar yearning–
I have felt
the force of it, hard
and sighed without breath

she said to me once in a dream
love and longing are the same feeling
you reel out love’s long line alone,
stripped like a live wire loosing its sparks to a cloud
;
how they are both desire, sparking
 like a live wire loosed in space
to longing and grief everlasting

 

~title and all italicized from Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm, one of my favorite quotes of all time threaded in this experimental piece.  Here is the quote, in full:  “And you can get caught holding one end of a love, when your father drops, and your mother; when a land is lost, or a time, and your friend blotted out, gone, your brother’s body spoiled, and cold, your infant dead, and you dying: you reel out love’s long line alone, stripped like a live wire loosing its sparks to a cloud, like a live wire loosed in space to longing and grief everlasting.”

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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36 Responses to caught holding one end of a love

  1. nelle says:

    So poignant. And I wonder, sometimes lines can bind, and sometimes they run wireless, free to explore and be all we wish to be, yet across something beyond our perceived time and space, the connection lives on.

    • yes–I can only agree. One of my favorite passages of writing of all time–has been something I have wanted to experiment with (almost like a written meditation) for a long time.

  2. Green Speck says:

    Wonderfully written and clearly expressed … love indeed is powerful !!!

  3. doncarroll says:

    very nice susan. you work with another writer’s material with your own blend to it. i’ve yet to try that.

    • Thanks, Don. I enjoyed doing this, however…it is Annie Dillard after all, and I am afraid in this case using her writing is a challenge–it is so deep and so spiritual one can get swept away in it ;)

  4. Once more, without sounding repetitive, I love your insights into life. I enjoyed your thoughts and expressions of connections. You’re blooming.

  5. Rhonda says:

    Not hard to see why she’s your favorite. You spirit blends with hers. This is just beautifully done.

  6. jomul7 says:

    I love the threading here and how you wrote in and out of that beautiful poem. I should try it sometimes. I never thought of love as a line, a circle yes but not a line because a line can get cut, twisted, tangled and love at least the ideal one like 1 corinthians 13 is divine and everlasting.
    Thanks for this fresh perspective!

    • Joe–thanking you. (I too have never seen love as a li9ne–more of a circle (or perhaps the sign of infinity, unbroken no matter what we do to it–because I believe it is a forever thing, loving someone). I am joining you in thanking Annie Dillard for this perspective, so different from my own, but so beautiful, in its overarching sadness.

  7. Really nice, I must get around to reading Annie Dillard one of these days – what would you recommend I start on? For some reason reading this reminded me of this song by Canadian singer/songwriter Leslie Hudson: http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/songs/15599

  8. I’ve cried with this~ awestruck !

  9. Brilliant, is all I can say, my friend. :-)

  10. Patricia chenayi nyandoro says:

    I feel this one, talking to me… First stanza spirit does not die , nor love.
    Thanks Susan

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