Saturday, April 30, 2011

National Poetry Month: Nomads

Here's another poem from my 'Learning To Stop' phase. Even though it was two years after Jim and I bought the house together (four years into our relationship), I still had odd moments of angst about being in a relationship and having settled down in suburbia. It's not that I doubted my choices or the direction my life was going; I knew it was the best thing that had ever happened to me. It was just such a vast change to go from being an individual to being part of a couple, that there were psychic aftershocks for a long time as the tectonic plates of my life adjusted to the shift.

This has got to be a very common feeling, especially for men.  Of course, we're not supposed to talk about it. Straight men in particular probably have to bury this stuff, because I question whether many women - despite their gender's PR spin about being more communicative about their feelings - could really handle hearing a man express doubts about being with them. I wonder if one reason relationships fall apart in the first several years is that people ignore these feelings, never 'rethink' themselves, reassess their lives, and never find a way to get comfortable with themselves again after they enter a relationship. For me, Nomads captures the feelings I had during one of those aftershock moments. Of course, as the poem makes clear, I had no real answers for myself in the moment.


O Love,
you are salvation balm!
But I see you
tame the wilderness
and wear the stone smooth

And I’ve seen:
sailors done with the sea,
gypsies at hearthstones,
knights with hung shields—
content yet restless

I trust myself
to Love’s steady mast,
sailing by strange stars,
for a time.

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