This week wraps up National Poetry Month, and what a wonderful topic for exploring the path to love. We could all learn something about the practice of love from poetry, but not in the way you might think: I’m not necessarily talking about immersing oneself in the romantic writings of Pablo Neruda (although far be it from me to discourage such a thing). Instead, I’m talking about infusing our lives with a more poetic outlook. And by that I mean cultivating the receptivity and openness-to-the-moment that’s intrinsic to the craft of poetry itself.
One of my favorite poems — perhaps because it encapsulates what it means to move through life as a poet, as someone who is attuned to the nuances of every moment and lets the emotional impact of those moments wash over him — is by poet laureate Billy Collins and it’s called “Aimless Love.” In it, the author chronicles a day of continually falling in love, first with a wren, then a field mouse, then a bowl of broth, and finally, a bar of soap. On the soap:
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hand
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
Of course, I’m not advocating you go out and buy a bar of lavender soap and practice your best pick-up lines on it. What I’m getting at is that falling in love is almost a byproduct of cultivating an appreciation and openness to the world, and an awareness of your own reactions as you move through it. Falling in love is not just about finding the right person; it’s about being receptive and ready and willing to make true connections. If you allow yourself to notice, savor, and celebrate the beauty that is unfurling around you all the time, you are that much closer to falling in love. As Collins put it:
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite poems, and what role they’ve played in your path to love. Please share below in the comments!