[For Gail, 3-16-2013]
Fifty and four you are today
I see the years cascading now
Rather than ache and slowly crawl
They used to do the latter, no?
Or was it just a youthful gaze
That saw the years as enemies
Not friends, be casual or close
Today of layers I’m aware
Layers as in onions or cakes
Like Shrek’s Donkey, that complex
But still a promised morning waffle
Layers of love, alliteration
crass, gratuitous, moan-inducing
Like the “lowest” form of humor
(Just as if it isn’t funny)
Layers of love, I’ll say again
Apologizing not a whit
We’ve talked of how we didn’t know
What love could be, although professed
So hard and often, my immature
Neologism was no help
A made-up word is still a word
And words hint not at love’s old age
Show nothing of commitment’s pay
We’re not old, I want to say
And that is true by current scale
But our love is old, my dear
And that’s an old that we have won
An old that we can have and hold
As to each other we draw close
Embracing layers, layers, layers
Palpating depth with reverence
Our love, like Carter’s Little Pills
Love in layers only comes
With folding, folding over years
A mundane folding, like the sheets
On washing day, all warmly clean
Everyday folding and putting away
A chore, but oh the fruit thereby!
A comfort like the green of grass
Or like the smell of welcome spring
Layers, folded, mundane chore
Transfigured, just like on the mount
No tabernacle is required
For in the folds we leap in love
And in the warmth become the we
Again, again (mundane once more?
No!) more is the love for us
Since patience like fabric enfolds us two
Is sex my theme? It would’ve been
When we were young and green in vision
But not today with older love
Now it’s layers, layers, layers…
Happy birthday, love of mine!
Your spark can still ignite my flame
And get me spouting gushy tripe
But tripe whose knowing’s wide, deep
Pithy refrigerator-magnet morals
But stuck on our no-frost loving (Ha!
Of course I know it’s not frost-free!
But frost can strangely add to warmth
At least, so-to-speak, on longer term)
Long is the term, deep is the love
One in His Grace we lovers two
The noun, the verb, the layers on layers
Of love, It’s this I want to write
But tis no better than made-up words
To tell you the already known
The very air you breathe with me
Is layers of love, away with words!
Vast, unspeakable love holds sway
But happy birthday anyway!
Books on poetry may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.