And now abideth faith, hope, charity [charity is often translated as love],
but the greatest of these is charity.
1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 13 (KJV)
L.O.V.E. is what they call It Love. And It comes in different forms.
from simple liking and raw affection
fondness and fanaticism
sheer blindness, madness -even
from everything that makes
admiration and adoration, idol-atry
and idealization, reverence and deference
alike and yet, different
Psychologists are yet to agree on one, ultimate definition for Love. Liking and Altruism seem to easily lend themselves to definition and probity, more than Love does. Yet, Love sits in the middle of these two, acting shy, playing hard-to-get, smiling knowingly, and yet exuding defiance.
willingly serving another
At what point does plain self-love become selfishness, a non-Love. How does an innocent love for something degenerate into an addiction, a dis-order a dys-function, a dis-ease? Where in the world do humans not understand a crush – crush as in the beginning and or potential for Love, and crush as in a break, a heartbreak? And what too with the thin line they say there is between Love and anti-Love, hate? What informs a teenager’s idea of love and that of photographers and writers for their craft, their calling? Why would the mad dog go digging its teeth into everyone but the playing, giggling toddler’s flesh?
presence or lack of it,
goings and comings of it,
sweet pains and pinching joys of it
doing, neighbours, rats, seasons, reading,
dreams, post-stamps, roses, work, spaces,
the not-exactly simple pat on a shoulder
an ardent, urgent kiss
a shrug a silence which is laden with so much more than words and deeds can convey, and fully and effectively so
Agape. Phileo. Storge. Eros. Kinds of Love, they say. According to the Greeks. There are more different ways to classify different kinds of Love. The question remains if it is that simple, that simple to draw sharp and discreet lines between these different different kinds of Love.
random show of uncomplicated thoughtfulness
laying down one’s life for another,
At exactly what time do friends become lovers? How is it possible to listen to, or be loyal to another, and not necessarily love too? Where, in the grand scheme of things, may a mother’s love fail, and another Love, a higher Love, begin? What changes do the love between say, a father and a daughter, undergo, while they both grow in more ways than one? Why do Christians believe that the one essential, ultimate nature and personality of God can be summed up in one Word: Love? Agape Love, they say.
the weirdest, the plain silly
the wondrous, the sheer vanity
a mother or a great-grandson or a stranger,
to a doll or an-other stranger or a shell
being ordinary to an-other
becoming the very centre of that other’s life, being – and if not universe, then world
Oh World! And what they say about what makes it go round!
Enough said about Poetry and Love and People and all.
Here, the final set of the fifteen Love Pieces. The last is one of of my few poems which insisted on – I explained – turning out as a (kind of) Love Poem.
Sit. Spread. Savour. It. They call It L.O.V.E.
11. How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrette Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
12. her II by Kwabena Agyare Yeboah
love is what is lost when translating a poem
and the days of relapse
i have pinned you on my memory
it’s dark out here
your hand is cold
and your hair is strangely reciting nursery rhymes
love is a letter i write everyday
and post on facebook, hoping your pictures match my letters
i can learn to love you
like how a mockingbird sings other songs
pardon my manners. there is something on your brow; i love you
love is prose, and i will put my name to it one day
i will be a bestseller because you will be my novel
of the gentleman
SAM: [To an imaginary crowd towards the gate] Thank you. Thank you. [Gloatingly] They didn’t get me. [Speaking to no one in particular] An idiot’s life isn’t so bad. There are always people to stop children from throwing stones at us. They only do that for idiots, I find. [To the cage] Let us tell my master that.
[Paying tender attention to what is inside the cage, he walks up a step, crosses to left and puts the cage and the box down.]
SEGUWA: [Entering from the kitchen] You’re back.
SAM: Are you pleased to see me? [Lifting up the cage] Look, he is my bird.
SEGUWA: [Horrified] Don’t bring it near me. It’s an owl.
SAM: [Blithely] Of course. An owl is a bird.
SEGUWA: What’s it doing here?
SAM: It came with me. It was an owl before, but now it’s with me, it’s no longer itself. It’s the owl of an idiot. What we get, we possess. I caught it in a tree.
SEGUWA: Take it outside. [………………..]
EDUFA: [Coaxingly] Sam, are you back?
SEGUWA: I don’t know what he is doing with that thing. Let him take it away.
EDUFA: What is it, Sam?
SEGUWA: An owl.
EDUFA: [Terrified] Take it out. [SAM sulks.] We would do well not to disturb him before we’ve heard what he has to say. He can get very stubborn. [Sweetly] Sam, come here. [SAM doesn’t budge.] You may keep your bird. [SAM turns to him grinning broadly.]
SAM: [Pointing to the owl] My owl and I had a nice thought for you on the way. When you are born again, master, why don’t you come back as an idiot? There are always people to stop children throwing stones at us. They only do that for idiots, I find.
EDUFA: [Smiling in spite of himself] All right. Now tell me quickly what I want to hear. [Anxiously] Did you find the place?
SAM: It’s an awful place. What do you send me to places like that for? Not the village itself. That is beautiful, floating in the blue air on the mountain top, with a climb-way in the mountain’s belly going zig-zag-zig, like a game. [He thoroughly enjoys his description.]
SEGUWA: [Impatiently] He’s so tiresome with his rambling.
EDUFA: [Trying to be patient] Good, you found the village. And the man?
SAM: He is a nice man, tall as a god. And he fed me well. You don’t give me chicken to eat, but he did. [Thinks a bit] What does such a nice man live in an awful house like that for? That’s the awful part.
EDUFA: [Very anxiously] Never mind. What did he say?
SAM: Ah! [Secretively] Let me fetch my box of goods.
[He fetches the tin box and sets it down before EDUFA]
SAM: I won’t go that awful house again.
EDUFA: No. Get something to eat. And rest. You are tired.
[SAM picks up the box and walks eagerly to the bird cage.]
But …Sam. You must let that bird go.
SAM: [Aggrieved] My owl? Oh, master, he is my friend. He’s a bird of an idiot. He likes us. He and I had a nice thought for you on our way…
EDUFA: [Threatingly] Take it out of here. Out.
SAM: Oh… [He picks up bird cage and goes out of the gate muttering sulkily] We’ll stay outside…If they won’t have us in we won’t eat…We will starve ourselves…we…
14. Hello Day – Worldwide (November 21, 1999) by Kobina Eyi Acquah
In their town
Where good morning
And the very audacity
To offer it unsolicited
Maybe they need
A hello day,
A gesture, a token
Of what could have been.
Here in our village
A man must show cause
Why he passed his neighbour
And did not greet
And ask how he is
And how is home.
In our village too
We need to be reconciled
From strain and friction
But we require more than a day:
The grief-joy mixture
Of knowing and being know
Takes a lifetime to drink.
So if a day must be declared
Then let it be
The beginning of a
To the unbarring
Of windows and gates,
The demolition of fences and walls,
Of border ports
And entry permits
All they really want
Is a hello day, no more;
So they can say hello,
Like a toothpaste smile,
Like their cold fingers-shake.
Maybe all they want
Is the momentary flash, the quick open-lock
Of the shutters
Of the soul.
That way no light comes in
That will wake
Disturb their greed.
We follow in their train
15.*Consummation by Aisha Nelson
still and stale
grinds into clots
of grit and water
just by a drizzle
flaunts its secrets
of spikes and flesh
due to a tickle
blood-frothed throbs of passion
scent-strung beads of sweat
you are not ashamed
But stand naked
*This poem was first published at Munyori Journal.