It’s the last word
that is always the most important,
I say to myself,
as I tumble down
into my own devilish thoughts
of knowing love,
it held the key
to all of life’s
complexities, and simplicities,
knowing love means
being tangled up in this moment
surrounded by rows of books,
bearing titles blurry and foreign
to my eyes.
I sit knowing love
is in the re-doing:
fresh coats of paint
over sunflower colored walls smudged with fingerprints,
it’s in the filling of lavender and pink balloons with our breaths
for each new birthday,
candles on chocolate cake awaiting the flicker from your lighter,
a new spark,
never leaves with the last word,
it only stays with the first one
who can give in
to the stepping beyond zones of comfort:
baring a lavish gift
although still unsure
whether to give the colorful box
wrapped with silk ribbons
as this is
in the sharing,
in the letting go,
so I shall find pleasure,
perhaps only a smile,
knowing it’s the last word
that is always the most important, my love.
Writer’s note: I could leave this poem as a poem—let it stand on its own, but I thought that I’d share a little bit of my creative process.
Here it goes:
In that moment of awe, we know that we’ve found an inspiring book, as it causes us to write poetry—such as this poem—in the margins of our notebook.
Books are somewhat of a mystery in our digital landscape these days; we almost have to seek them out. In fact, I rarely spend my days (or evenings) in a library anymore. As a grad student, and later as a library assistant, I loved my countless hours of being surrounded by books, shelving them into their spaces while working in a place that upheld the unspoken rule of quietness: perfect for reflection.
A few days ago, I found myself with some time and space to be at one of those beautifully designed libraries with sprawling windows and new-to-me books.
I found a small book called The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter. He discussed the element of the unspoken in novels. Baxter described how Robert Frost used the method of placing the same word at the end-stopped position. Frost repeatedly used “see” at the end of lines in his poem Home Burial. I paused to contemplate this method of poetry, and found myself writing “the last word always most important.”
Suddenly I scrawled out the above poem in my notebook. I subconsciously used the word, love, at an end-stopped position. Love seems to be a magnetic word for me these days (especially as I look around at the intensity of our world—love needs to be shared more, I think); it keeps sticking to my pages of writing.
Love, as a word, may be used on so many wonderful levels, yet for me, I see it as form of compassion.
I’ve always loved, yes, loved Osho’s words regarding love in his description about The Lovers card from the Osho Zen Tarot Cards. He wrote, “the highest refinement of love is compassion.”
Osho explained that our lover is often a reflection of ourselves, as they hold up a mirror for us to peer into (even on those days when we awake with the wildest bed-hair imaginable!) Certainly, I never wanted to look in my lover’s mirror, and have to deal with the mistakes that he made that concerned me, but I found myself in that uncomfortable position.
So I had to ask myself some deep questions:
How do I hold that space for compassionate loving as mistakes are made in relationships? How do I find a way to give my dear friend, my lover, an opportunity to re-do the “whoops” that were made in moments of confusion?
True, there are some mistakes that are never acceptable, so re-dos will never an option for some of us.
For me, this mistake, however, was not on the scale of being unforgivable, but close enough to give me pause in my ability to share love with my dear one.
Yet how do we allow room for growth in a relationship if we don’t ponder the idea of a re-do?
We can take steps to create “changes” like repainting the walls, covering up our blemishes, and beginning again with a new canvas. Albeit, emotions regarding relationships are not so simple, eventually we’ll see the old paint under the new if we don’t go deep in the first place.
In order to truly allow for a re-do, we will have to swim through the waves of forgiveness, which is not always an easy journey.
Certainly, we could close the book completely on another, and not look back—write them off as a piece of our story, but no longer a main character. We could shrug our shoulders, put our hands in our pockets, and keep on walking down the street; or we could let them into our space.
Allow ourselves to try for forgiveness with all of its unspoken insecurities, blame, and misfortunate to have already lived through an uncomfortable experience. It’s not easy to try for a re-do because we’ll have to meet the feelings of forgiveness, and then give them room to be heard.
“And forgiveness is also—or feels—dangerous: It exposes us not so much to repetition of the original harm as to feeling vulnerable and open,” writes psychotherapist Piero Ferrucci.
Forgiveness exposes us to the repetition of vulnerability (because we can never just forgive with one single act—it’s a layer of forgiveness) just as Robert Frost used the method of repeating the same word at the end-stopped position.
In Frost’s poem, he repeated the line, “What is it you see.”
Yes, what is it you see that keeps you from forgiving, from giving your lover/friend an opportunity to re-do what was done wrong in the first place?
What word(s) do you keep coming back to in your story around the difficulties in your relationship? Look at your end-words—what do you keep repeating—for what is it that you are subconsciously trying to unravel in order to make yourself whole again.
Being vulnerable is one of the most humbling feelings, so if you choose to do re-do’s in your relationship journey, remember: the most important word is always the last word, my love.
Jes Wright loves being barefoot, taking deep breaths of orange blossoms while doing yoga, and finds nature in even the most urban spaces. She is an adventurer, enjoying the acts of painting, writing and playful mindfulness in her mostly uncharted journey between northern California and upstate New York, and back again. Jes holds an MA in Individualized Studies (Creative Nonfiction) from Goddard College where she learned the power of Transformative Language Arts. Currently, she’s working on a novel, a poetry chapbook, and being an ever present diplomat for those with Asperger’s. Her writing may be found at elephant journal and on Facebook.