Sunday, July 09, 2006

To Have Without Holding

To Have Without Holding
by Marge Piercy

"Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can't do it, you say it's killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor's button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced. "

I work to love everyone and everything in my life in this way: unconditional, honest, open, accepting love. Love without grabbing, without owning, without expectations. I love you and accept you for who you are -- now, not who I wish you were, or what I hope to mold you into. Love with liberty and freedom for all involved. This is True Love.

Rarely do I receive love of the same kind in return. Some seem devoted to possess and control. Some wish to be possessed and controlled. Some seem to enjoy the primordial drama of jealousy. Some become convinced that a statement of commitment -- which is a promise for a future that no one can control, somehow trumps a joyful now.

Yes, it can really hurt to love with an open hand, especially when that love is not appreciated, or worse when it's returned with dishonesty and betrayal. However, the intensity, joy, and freedom of altruistic love is well worth the pain.

I think I'll keep loving with my hands wide open.


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