15 February 2008

Belated HVD!

Just wanted to share a lovely poem forwarded to me by a good friend. Thanks, Kats ;)

Variations On The Word Love
(Margaret Atwood)

This is a word we use to plug holes with.

It's the right size for those warm blanks in speech,

for those red heart-shaped vacancies on the page

that look nothing like real hearts.

Add lace and you can sell it.

We insert it also in the one empty space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions.

There are whole magazines with not much in them
but the word love,

you can rub it all over your body

and you can cook with it too.

How do we know it isn't what goes on

at the cool debaucheries of slugs under damp pieces of cardboard?

As for the weed-seedlings

nosing their tough snouts up among the lettuces,

they shout it.


Sing the soldiers,

raising their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two of us.

This word is far too short for us,

it has only four letters,

too sparse to fill those deep bare vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish to fall into,

but that fear.
this word is not enough

but it will have to do.

It's a single vowel in this metallic silence,

a mouth that says O again and again in wonder
and pain,

a breath,

a finger grip on a cliff side.

You can hold on or let go.


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