Desired Love

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

– Mary Oliver, excerpted from “When I Am Among the Trees”

Oh, desired love, how the temptations
of an easier path tug at my arm,
sing of treasures found in solitude,
withdrawn into a life of no risks
and no chaos, where comfortable
illusions keep reality at bay.
But fear’s promises of smooth sailing
are nothing more than siren songs
meant to play on my dismay.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say.

Yet, it isn’t simple at all. The lonely rocks
are just too deep to see
until they rip open the hull
and spill my guts into the ocean.
There is no breath in vacuum
without your air, without near thrum
of a heart other than my own.
And so I must steer from the lure
of easy until the depths I plumb
and you too have come.

Indeed, a poet will never move beyond
blank page if their pen has no ink.
A virgin describes the mechanics
of lovemaking, but can’t truly know
the explosive potential of two bodies.
But neither is contentment forced. We build
upon the daily tides of our lives,
replenishing the well of our empty souls
only when confident we were God-willed
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled.

That is, to go easy on the path
that is not easy, on the path
strewn with fallen trees of past hurts.
While temptation of a pain-free trail
still calls out, my longed-after love,
I cannot stop to forever pine
for that which might harrow my soul.
And so, in the darkness of my cravings,
I gingerly step forward to hope, to align
with light, and to shine.

©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur