Not All For Love: A Book of Poetry

       J.T. Marsh
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Not All For Love: A Book of Poetry

Not All For Love

A Book of Poetry

J.T. Marsh

Copyright 2017 J.T. Marsh

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1.

The artlessness of love
is appreciated by
the young and the old,
the poor and the rich,
the intemperate and the chaste;
it’s not an art
to express love,
but to be in love,
in love the intoxicated
feeling leading one
to do things
one would never do,
to say things
one would never say,
becoming an act,
putting on a performance
for all the world to see,
if only anyone were to look.
In love, we become
as actors, broken into
creative circles,
turning against our own,
immersing ourselves
in a role we know
nothing about,
our passion
turning each of us
into people other than
who we are. But
the passion inside us
that gives
becomes the art,
by virtue of its hiding
in each of us it an art
no one will ever see but
each of us in turn. It’s
white teeth, blackened by
the slick runoff of a
closed boom floating on the
water. We’re in love, trapped
in love, drowning beneath a
rising tide that subsides over
time, in the meanwhile our
wistful gazes forlorn and
immaculately plain.

2.

In purity, there is
devotion.
In passion, there is
enlightenment.
In the forest, in the morning
a mist floats through the
thin beams of light
penetrating the treetop
canopy. In the forest,
it seems like the Garden
of Eden, with a light,
ethereal music seeming
to naturally float in the air. (So
far, I’m not greyed-out, but
looking like a force-landed
fool, seeing action, but not
active). In the forest, the
morning’s mist fades into
an afternoon’s warmth.
Love becomes the mask
we put on, the role we play,
converting our selves into
vessels through which our
love can find expression,
becoming instruments in
which we serve some
higher purpose, some
loftier ideal. Don’t
worry, our
fleetingly fragile
senses crossing the
line, the already-blurred line
between salvation and sin.
Love blinds us
to the goings-on in the world
outside that narrow beam
of light that our love
casts on us, moments
of truth illuminated, here
and there, as they float through
like specks of dust
caught in a light breeze.
Love takes us deep
into a forest of self-indulgence,
into a place hidden
for all to see, notorious
behind its own art, infamous
for its own artlessness,
saddled by its own
promiscuity, its own faith. It’s
tonight, through the night,
under a gathering storm we
find ourselves contemplating
what lies ahead, unconcerned
as we are with
what lies behind us all.
And love, once granted
control over our selves,
becomes our new religion,
gaudy, evasive, scant, a
night fighter variant acting as
an early mark, seeing us
through to the early morning’s light.
In purity,
we find meaning,
we find truth,
we find a whole
we seek to make ourselves.

3.

A young woman
is like a treasure,
understated,
vigorous,
sublime.
Her eyes, full of a hope
that glitters in the morning’s sun.
Her hair, shimmering
in the pale moonlight.
Her voice, like a song
floating lightly through the mist.
Her skin, smooth
and soft to the touch.
In the early-morning’s fog,
I sometimes imagine
I can hear her voice
behind a foghorn that bellows
with the passing of each ship
along the river, heading out to sea,
the sound of her voice hidden
by the
crashing of waves
against a rocky shore.
In beauty, there is truth.
In truth, there is beauty.
(But in what
haphazard fashion
do we assail, avail ourselves of
love’s link to link’s lynx link?)
A young woman
is like a treasure,
a treasure I’ve known all my life,
a treasure I’ve yet to know,
so pure and so elegant for the
dull and coarse feeling of it all,
gleaming in the afternoon’s sun,
radiating a warmth,
gliding effortlessly
from one moment to the next
as if floating on a cloud,
a pristine, white cloud;
if you look on her
at just the right moment
it might seem she’s
perfectly still
even as she’s
moving so fast
you can’t trap her in the
moment, no matter
how hard you try. This
can’t happen, we all
think, not here, not there,
nor anywhere in-between,
all those disclaimers
making me want this
even more.

4.

An amber glow,
an pale green light,
in the pale moonlight
love seeming like a
dance, an elegant
waltz, set against an
imagined melody.
As our song fades
into a rich, full silence,
I drop to one knee,
take her hand in mine,
and pledge undying
love for her, as if
to seal the moment
under a glass case
of gravely-elected
greetings, smug, pitiable.
Unwavering devotion,
it seems a noble pursuit,
even as we live in a world
where devotion is as
criminal, as denounced.
An amber glow,
an pale green light,
in the hot summer’s sun
love radiating a
warmth all-encompassing,
rich, full, a warmth
building slowly to
a searing heat, a heat
pregnant with an humidity,
a heat that causes her blouse
to cleave to her chest and
her hair to become a
tangled, matted mess.
In her state, the heat
accentuates her shapely,
curvaceous figure, rousing
in me a desire, a hunger
for her hardly unlike
a starving jackal in
search of his next meal.
An amber glow,
an pale green light,
in the heat of the moment
nor can we resist our
passions, nor can we
keep ourselves from
indulging in pleasures
of the flesh, pleasures
both subtle and gross.
In her I find an
spiritual release,
of a kind that
sure can’t be found
in any other hall, in
any other hearth, like a
fire’s theatre playing for an
empty hall, standing-room
only, each seat filled with
a thinly-veiled outline of the
people who were
never there.

5.

Passion lies in the essence
of fire, of the flames
cautiously searching for
just the right spot at
the centre of it all,
anxiously crawling
along the edges,
young, impudent,
at the whim of things
it cannot know. But
on reaching some
unknowable stage in its
adolescence, passion,
as with the flames,
becomes confident,
arrogant, even,
relentlessly attacking
with no regard for itself,
consuming everything
within its reach,
aggressive,
domineering,
yet vulnerable
in ways it cannot know.
At full strength, passion,
as with the flames,
comes to acquire its
victory, fantastically
finding favour far from
where favour’s usually found.
There sometimes comes
a point when our passion,
as with the flames,
suddenly become stronger,
as if by a dial turned all the way up,
surging, burning hot, as if
to set the whole world alight.
And when our passion
burns itself out,
it leaves behind
a smouldering wreck,
a blackened husk,
a heap of debris
left as a warning
to all who might be
tempted to give in
to their hearts’ most
intemperate demands.
We willingly,
enthusiastically
subject ourselves to
the terror,
the panic,
immersing ourselves
in the flames of passion,
given as we are
to the noble pursuits
of the heart.

Addendum.

We see love as noble,
but our love can never be
as noble as what we see.

6.

In a state of mind,
not altogether far from
the drunken tomfoolery
we sometimes find ourselves in,
it’s easy to forget
the special times we’ve had,
all the intimate moments
and the embarrassing secrets
we’ve shared under the
influence of the
insidious, malodorous
intoxication we call love.
We mistake ourselves
for passionate lovers,
when, in fact, we are
governed by little more
than toxic mix of feelings
stewing about inside each of
our selves, like some
industrial,
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