Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Answering Yes

I thought I would love you forever--and, a little, I may,
in the way I still move toward a crate, knees bent,
or reach for a man: as one might stretch
for the three or four fruit that lie in the sun
at the top of the tree; too ripe for any moment but this,
they open their skin at first touch, yielding sweetness,
sweetness and heat,
and in me, each time since,
the answering yes.

from "The Answering Yes," by Jane Hirshfield, in her book of poetry, The October Palace, 1973.

Puzzling over love and the way one can love more than once in this lifetime, I realized that this poem answers some questions that have been stewing in my mind. To love is to say yes. To say yes more than once. To love is to remember every time you have said yes. And each yes is to increase and not diminish. Each yes is to sweeten the moment and not embitter.

If I were to live my life over again... I would still love the same people. I have no regrets. Each love built me into the person I am. And if I have finally chosen one love to share the rest of my life, it also means that all my past loves have led me to this moment.

"I thought I would love you forever..." How poignant. Perhaps each time we say yes, we feel that it encompasses forever. It takes time and wisdom, I guess, to be able to say that love does not end (because at the moment of separation, the world does seem to end). It does not end, because it allows you to say yes. To reach out once more, knowing all the consequences and pain, to love.

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