How to Love
January Gill O’Neil
After stepping into the world again,
there is that question of how to love,
how to bundle yourself against the frosted morning—
the crunch of icy grass underfoot, the scrape
of cold wipers along the windshield—
and convert time into distance.
What song to sing down an empty road
as you begin your morning commute?
And is there enough in you to see, really see,
the three wild turkeys crossing the street
with their featherless heads and stilt-like legs
in search of a morning meal? Nothing to do
but hunker down, wait for them to safely cross.
As they amble away, you wonder if they want
to be startled back into this world. Maybe you do, too,
waiting for all this to give way to love itself,
to look into the eyes of another and feel something—
the pleasure of a new lover in the unbroken night,
your wings folded around him, on the other side
of this ragged January, as if a long sleep has ended
January Gill O’Neil is the author of Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). She is executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and teaches at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts.
I have been away from my blog for nearly a year but I would like to start posting special poems again. Loretta sent this one today that she ran across and it seems appropriate for me to share. My divorce is now final and is no longer a distraction, pulling me away from my love of poetry and this blog. I have been reconnecting with music and have spent several weekends at festivals and with friends playing my dulcimers, guitar and a new ukulele. My spirit is being fed and is pleading for more poetry. If you have run across some poems you've enjoyed, please send them my way and I will put them up for others to see.
This poem speaks to me in several ways. Aside from the obvious "rebooting" I am experiencing as I leave a marriage of 37 years, there is the irony that I have been seeing wild turkey hens repeatedly the last few weeks, with a few poults scampering to keep up. Have I been "really seeing them?" I don't know, but I do enjoy glimpses of wildlife because it reminds me there is so more to this world than the problems and challenges that consume my days. It helps put things into perspective.
I am not waiting for anything to "give way to love." At least not in a romantic sense. I wouldn't mind learning to love more about life and to love in a deeper way. But for now, I am just enjoying the new found freedom and sense of renewal I am experiencing. Hope the poem is meaningful to you.