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← Love Poems to the World

Love Songs to the World

by Morgan S. Grether

I.
I'm writing love songs to the world,
Writing, writing everyday.
It’s a process, sure,
Slow and steady, like love itself never is.

Sure as the bond between brothers
Who argue over the smallest things,
But never really argue,
Who as boys, twins, rumble over dirt mounds
In vacant lots near their house,
Finding fantastic treasures buried beneath
That no one else is ever allowed to see
(You know, there used to be pirates here;
They buried things all over
And forgot where they dug!)
,
And who under autumn porchlight
Plot out the grammar and vocabulary
Of a new, private language.

Slow as a school class
When you're 17
And there's so much more to life;
You're dying to see it all right now;
So you're coming out of your skin
Just to get the world to move.

Steady as the wind that always blows
On the deck of my apartment here in Boston,
Looking over the water where the winds come in,
The gray water, the gray cumulus clouds racing,
Angry at the sun, wanting the city gray too.
It’s all someone's metaphor somehow,
But you can never tell what for,
But the wind stays steady.

II.
I have gotten lost in Boston,
Came here and can't get out,
Trapped in its icy winter prisons
More dangerous than all the prisons in my mind,
Came to write my metaphors,
But this city's a metaphor too, I guess.
Streets tangle round, buildings roll over hills.
Surely it all means something, but not to me.
Confusion is my muse these days.
I ought to go north,
Chase down Robert Frost's ghost
In the villages where the leaf tourists stop to get gas,
And I'll be a tourist too, a stranger,
Just as I am in this city,
And waiting by a road, I’ll be writing with my pen
Some silly lines to fit the strange occasion:
The gray-clothed stranger stopped his car and stood
Beside the road and watched the trucks roar by.
The evening air descended on the wood,
Beside the gray-clothed stranger, who was I.


But I go on writing here,
Typing out my love songs to the world,
Until the tapping of the keys
Becomes a beautiful rhythm all its own.

Sing to me, keys!
Sing me your beautiful love songs,
Whose words are not words at all,
Whose language of sound
Speaks through all languages,
Or rather seeps through,
Whose rhymes are always perfect
In their completion,
Whose similes, stanzas, and stresses
All could make a critic cry,
Whose love is for the true palindrome
Of abstract rhythm.

III.
I’m singing songs, loudly, all across our globe,
Songs to the humble and the wise, to all houses
And houses' shadows, to those souls without a home,
Songs to those forgotten by other songs
In their cardboard world beneath the light of day and
Songs to all those souls who have been serenaded
10,000 times before I was even born,
To all the souls of love or overflowing scorn.

To them, and more, I sing my songs, which belong, as
All songs do, to all the traveler gods
Swirling round the globe with winds from hurricanes,
Their eyes alive in tropic summer heat that smolders
In flat, dead air until the storms arrive to blast
The very ground awake from ancient soil-slumbers
As they’re screaming, "The time for sleeping’s past!"

My songs will scream this message too, until the words
Shed off their ink revealing their foundations of
Asbestos, concrete, chicken wire, not words at all
But things, a mesh behind the message, with a message
Of its own. It says to think beyond the world
Of ink and find the language of our bodies, not
Our voices, not our pens; there is in flesh
And earth a higher dialogue, or lower if
You will, which asks us bluntly: Can you try to be?

Composed: 1999