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       Not All For Love: A Book of Poetry, p.1

          J.T. Marsh / History & Fiction
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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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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.


In purity, there is


In passion, there is


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.


A young woman

is like a treasure,




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.


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.


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,



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,


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.


We see love as noble,

but our love can never be

as noble as what we see.


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

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