By Robin Sentell
inspired by a love letter from Satre to Simone de Beauvoir
i love you, my dearest,
if i'm capable of loving at all,
you have broken down my defenses,
and made me believe again.
headstrong and impermeable,
my strength was an illusion,
i'm afraid and shaking
can this be real?
in a blink of an eye
you've become essential to me
how could i let this happen?
i turn inward toward darkness and fear
you transform my emotions around love
by the strength of your tender gaze
love is flipped inward
i see my reflection
yes! now I see,
I see my beauty in your reflection
the thought of such nakedness makes me tremble
again, i surrender to fear,
in a quiet, almost desperate way
the act of surrender
love floods me as my fear floats away
a tidal wave which carries me to safety
the safety of your strong embrace
I feel free because within you,
I found me
you're all i will ever need
my heart flutters,
like the wings of a butterfly
I have risen from my cocoon,
the world is new
I want to fly high and soar
to float through my day
isn't love amazing
love transforms all things
everything around me is new again,
it speaks to me,
the language of possibilities
the world is ours,
to imbibe and to embrace
it envelops me with happiness.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Morricone
BY MAY SARTON
As the tide rises, the closed mollusc
Opens a fraction to the ocean's food,
Bathed in its riches. Do not ask
What force would do, or if force could.
A knife is of no use against a fortress.
You might break it to pieces as gulls do.
No, only the rising tide and its slow progress
Opens the shell. Lovers, I tell you true.
You who have held yourselves closed hard
Against warm sun and wind, shelled up in fears
And hostile to a touch or tender word—
The ocean rises, salt as unshed tears.
Now you are floated on this gentle flood
That cannot force or be forced, welcome food
Salt as your tears, the rich ocean's blood,
Eat, rest, be nourished on the tide of love.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Barcarolle by Richard Rodeny Bennett (not available)
"Go, lovely Rose"
BY EDMUND WALLER
Go, lovely Rose—
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.
Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.
Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.
Then die—that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Sonata No. 6 by Henry Purcell
The Unquarried Blue of Those Depths Is All But Blinding
BY ASHLEY ANNA MCHUGH
for John Fogleman
There are some things we just don’t talk about—
Not even in the morning, when we’re waking,
When your calloused fingers tentatively walk
The slope of my waist:
How love’s a rust-worn boat,
Abandoned at the dock—and who could doubt
Waves lick their teeth, eyeing its hull? We’re taking
Our wreckage as a promise, so we don’t talk.
We wet the tired oars, tide drawing us out.
We understand there’s nothing to be said.
Both of us know the dangers of this sea,
Warned by the tide-worn driftwood of our pasts—.
But we’ve already strayed from the harbor. We thread
A slow wake though the water—then silently,
We start to row, and will for as long as this lasts.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: En Bateau by Claude Debussy
Song: “Take, oh take those lips away”
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
(from Measure for Measure)
Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn,
And those eyes: the breake of day,
Lights that do mislead the Morn;
But my kisses bring again, bring again,
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Take, oh take those lips away by Roger Quilter