Something There is About Love

by | Jan 8, 2021 | January 2021 Writing | 9 comments

I wonder if love made the yesterday,

grew old or slowly died upon the tree. *

 

lovers united by carvings, padlocks, ink

forged onto tree, bridge, skin

confront ravages of time,

wayward passions

 

aged bark can ignite

in a moment of negligence

abundant locks can stress

an ancient bridge

abandoned ink can bleed like

a circumcised heart

arrows can dull in the

stillness of flight

 

I wonder if love felled in forest,

lay lifeless or swiftly resurrected upon the memory?

 

*Billy C. Clark, “Something There is About a Beech,” (last sentence)  To Leave my Heart at Catlettsburg, Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1999, p. 19.

9 Comments

  1. Meg Tuite

    Jennifer!
    “I wonder if love made the yesterday,
    grew old or slowly died upon the tree. * That is quite the last sentence and I love that you started with it! Gorgeous. ‘love made the yesterday’
    so great.
    “aged bark can ignite

    in a moment of negligence

    abundant locks can stress

    an ancient bridge

    abandoned ink can bleed like

    a circumcised heart

    arrows can dull in the

    stillness of flight”

    The repetition of ‘can stress’ ‘can bleed’ ‘can dull’ is powerful.
    My question throughout this stanza is that now you are in present tense. Was that intentional? Or do you want to keep it in the same tense throughout?
    “I wonder if love felled in forest,
    lay lifeless or swiftly resurrected upon the memory?”
    Absolutely enamored by this last line! It is as strong as Clark’s last sentence! Beautiful!

    NOW I WANT YOU TO GO BACK AND WORK IN YOUR OWN FIRST SENTENCE.
    Make it your own. Great work! LOVE!

  2. Meg Tuite

    Meg again. I see in that stanza that it starts with: “aged, abandoned, circumcised…
    I love reading it aloud.
    Just notice when you move to present from past and how that fits in with the poem.
    Really gorgeous!

  3. Constance Malloy

    Hi Jennifer, As I was reading this I’m saying to myself yes, yes. Like Meg, I was finding strength and an authority in the repetition of the can phrases. And, then you hit me with the last two lines and wow! Absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to see your first line. Thanks!

  4. John Steines

    Jennifer, you did a great job creating an ending sentence to match the beginning. I’m all in with the others on the eight lines. I looked for the original to see if anything in the four lines referenced the work, and I didn’t find the work. I do notice the shortening of each of those four lines, like a dying or withering into nothing. When I see the that dwindling to ‘wayward passions’, the next 8 lines are so amplified, and I don’t care what those first four lines reference, but that they seem to unleash what follows. Those four lines then take on significant additional meaning for me. Beautiful work.

  5. David O'Connor

    aged bark can ignite
    in a moment of negligence—love these two lines together…

    arrows can dull in the
    stillness of flight—another great moment…

    Overall, there is a delicate ethereal quality that touches and engages. The relationship to nature (and nature/love) works and is worth exploring, almost tips into the spiritual. I think the title could use another think but the overall beauty and what the poem actually says is outstanding, a pleasure to sit with… thank you.

  6. Jonathan Cardew

    Jennifer,

    Just a superb piece! I loved the opening with its bridges and padlocks and ink–all things imbued with much meaning. And then what’s more, you connect these so brilliantly later, skin and bark, padlocks and bridges.

    My only question is the introduction of the arrow. I have no problem with it (and you write it in so effortlessly), but this is the only thing that doesn’t connect with the opening (though of course arrows have a lot to do with love).

    Love the title as well–the awkwardness.

    Thanks for sharing!

    –Jonathan

  7. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Jennifer, So many fine suggestions here that I hesitate– I agree this is a beautiful, sensitive poem. Tenses, yes, work on consistency unless it is important to you to change the tenses. A comment a verb– “confront” ravages— or in fact, ravaged. I think you could dig deeper– I know the rhythm of the line needs those extra beats. In the last line, consider whether it reads clearer without the word “swiftly”

    Forgive my pickiness, but I think this is such a lovely piece it deserves a polish. Just lovely.

  8. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Jennifer, So many fine suggestions here that I hesitate– I agree this is a beautiful, sensitive poem. Tenses, yes, work on consistency unless it is important to you to change the tenses. A comment a verb– “confront” ravages— or in fact, ravaged. I think you could dig deeper– I know the rhythm of the line needs those extra beats. In the last line, consider whether it reads clearer without the word “swiftly”

    Forgive my pickiness, but I think this is such a beautiful piece it deserves a polish. Just lovely.

  9. Sara Comito

    Hi Jennifer, I admire how you frame with a sense of awe the universality of connection, in whatever element of medium we choose to observe or worship it – tree carvings, padlocks on bridges, body modification. I’ve been thinking about Dr. Suzanne’s Simard’s work in mapping an interconnectedness within forests. Her ideas have been criticized by the old guard foresters (men) as too metaphoric or spiritual. Here’s a link if you don’t know her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8SORM4dYG8 Enjoyed your piece and I saw a similarity in the scope and direction of your work here.

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