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← Love Poems to the World

The Romantics

by Morgan S. Grether

All that false and useless crap
Some call romantic that
Tells us all to pine away
For love we cannot have
Returned to us in any way
Must be cast aside. The eyes,
The heart, the mind, all pull
Against each other madly. Skies
May be blue, but we
Are gray. A civil war in full
Explodes our souls between
Aspirations and the truth
Of what we’ll never see,
Of unattainability.

Even minds as great
And strange as Herman Melville’s was
Climb atop the roof
The skull cage head to clamor out
To pursue a fate
Better than their own, because
They think it’s there. No doubt
Elizabeth, his wife, held scorn
For Nathaniel Hawthorne,
Herman’s white and mighty whale,
To whom, it’s true, a certain
Book of secret love was written.

Don’t try to calm this gale
By ascetic principles,
Which make you miserable.
Seek the simple truth of love
Around your life today.
Forget the pain of far away.
Forget the high above,
The lofty out of reach. Forget
The distant down below.
Forget the things you do not know
As solid fact. They jail
Your soul so tightly with regret
And crush your will to action
With what is present in the present
For what’s lost in pasts
Or daydreamed futures, which are pleasant
Diversions, weightless blasts
Of air, of dumb dissatisfaction.

Composed: 1999