The paradoxical thing about monogamy, for me at least, is that it took someone who doesn’t insist upon it to inspire me to live it so willingly.
Read on for two poems (one that speaks to the inevitably-ephemeral nature of relationships, and one that speaks to the phenomenon I described above), the story about how Scott and I came to find ourselves in a relationship the second time around, and a bit of Wendell Berry’s ever-inspiring wisdom.
Sonnet of Fidelity
by Vinicius de Moraes
Above all, to my love I’ll be attentive
First and always, with care and so much
That even when facing the greatest enchantment
By love be more enchanted my thoughts.
I want to live it through in each vain moment
And in its honor I’ll spread my song
And laugh my laughter and cry my tears
When you are sad or when you are content.
And thus, when later comes looking for me
Who knows, the death, anxiety of the living,
Who knows, the loneliness, end of all lovers
I’ll be able to say to myself of the love (I had):
Be not immortal, since it is flame
But be infinite while it lasts.
I discovered this next one in the book Loving and Leaving the Good Life, by Helen Nearing; she had sent it to her husband, Scott Nearing, in response to a poem he sent her while they were separated by an ocean:
The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth
by Countee Cullen
“Live like the wind,” he said, “unfettered,
And love me while you can;
And when you will, and can be bettered,
Go to the better man.
“For you’ll grow weary, maybe, sleeping
So long a time with me;
Like this there’ll be no cause for weeping;
The wind is always free.
“Go when you please,” he would be saying,
His mouth hard on her own;
That’s why she stayed and loved the staying,
Contented to the bone.
Because Scott and I didn’t see each other for two and a half years following our first date (except for one unacknowledged, wordless encounter in the doorway of Green Apple Books), I count our second date as our anniversary.
Except that I can’t really call it a date because it wasn’t really meant to be a date. We’d been hanging out platonically for several weeks, going to shows and having philosophical discussions, and had even gone on a double date. Which is why it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be awkward to invite Peter, a friend from work, to join us at The Independent on the evening of the Summer Solstice, 2016… Continue reading “The Solstice is Our Anniversary”