The Perfect Perch

beginnings breed promises that time must keep
beginnings breed promises that time must keep

For some, love is the search for a perfect perch

to lay a nest conceived and sealed by fate


some sail like weary birds in aimless flight

no notice to the sea of trees that bid respite


over branches waving promises below

and in patience, wait the coming of the bird


Some search the illusionary perfect perch

while sailing by the offered hopes beneath


To find the perfect perch, the perfect mate

some pre-selected soul calling to the heart


For some the flight of love to find ones soul

reflected back from landscape far below


The soul mate, a nest, pre-constructed and reserved

a perch that whispers to the soul


I am the branch promised to your hope

but promises are measured in the end


Untried by coming trial and storm, the perch must hold

a nest that births the dream of pregnant destiny


Love does not find the perfect perch to fit its nest

it must instead, build its nest to fit the perch.

Comments 36 comments

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Took a break from straightening my disordered house and what did I find waiting for me? This really is wonderful Alan. And it speaks to what is true of life and lasting relationships. The ending is perfect. Theresa

"Untried by coming trial and storm, the perch must hold

a nest that births the dream of pregnant destiny

Love does not find the perfect perch to fit its nest

it must instead, build its nest to fit the perch."


sweethearts2 profile image

sweethearts2 3 years ago from Northwest Indiana

Love - the completed promise in the end. A house and a home. And most of all "beginnings breed promises that time must keep"

I enjoy each meaning I get when I read and read again.

Thanks for sharing this gem.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. You are right, of course. My wife and I grew into our perch. But as we grew...


Valleypoet 3 years ago

Such diverse ways to find the 'perfect perch'...but you sealed it with your wisdom...the nest must be built first..thank you for sharing this my friend and fellow poet and philosopher:-))


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi Alan;

“Love does not find the perfect perch to fit its nest

it must instead, build its nest to fit the perch.”

Exactly. I love the ways in which you weaved nature into this wonderful poem. Birds migrate and adapt to change, are vulnerable yet strong in that they have evolved stratagems to remain safe in the eye of the storm. They are mostly socially monogamous…many are monogamous mating.

This poetry is a wonderful metaphor about love, what it means to find and build upon it, or to lose its potential through a misguided search for that which is “perfect.” Beautiful!! Voted up and much more, and sharing. :-)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

What a beautiful way to describe love and the building of a relationship.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

With these enchanting thoughts, arb, you could easily give Aesop a run for his money. Promise!


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

I really like the way that this all builds to that last line, the line that is so telling, the love "must build its nest to fit its perch." So true and so hard to learn sometimes. Good one Alan!


bizarrett81 profile image

bizarrett81 3 years ago from Maine

Love does not find the perfect perch to fit its nest

it must instead, build its nest to fit the perch."

I love this, such a great way of describing true love and relationships. Voted up and awesome


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Beautiful, Alan. It's been given much deep thought, obviously, possibly with considerable anguish. In its wisdom your poem itself points out the gap between the 'place-perch-nest' search and the intrinsic being of the soul of love which may seek such place. They're neither identical nor mutually dependent. Your conclusion says so by resolving the gap, possibly.

But I'm so overwhelmed with awareness that a cursory response to these ponderings is bound to be incomplete, at best, and that any analysis would surely be erroneous. So I shall let it simply incubate in my being and enjoy the warm glow of its branch for now.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Theresa. I've been having tea with Martha from (our last dance) and our talks moved me to write this. I have never embraced the claims of one meeting ones soul mate. Too many prematurely perish along the way. I think they are born along the way, raised and nourished in one another and in time, established. The little bird builds its nest a twig at a time and is forever making repair. Such tedious and remedial effort, reveals that love is a daily decision. Be well my special friend and thank you, as always for reading.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello sweethearts2. It is a pleasure to meet you and thank you for reading. It is so nice to receive such gracious comments. I look forward to reading your work.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Martin and thanks for reading. Growing establishes what only time can nourish. Nourishment feeds our soul.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Valleypoet. Thank you, as always reading. Any wisdom comes as consequence of failure, forgiveness and new beginnings. So many nest long ago, fallen to ground. I am a better builder since.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello sweet Genna. Always gracing my hubs with affirmation. Perhaps perfect lies in our acceptance of the imperfect. It should certainly crown us in humility. I think the glory of love lies in its willingness to endure despite all that comes against it. Love is always building, always repairing, always ready for the next storm.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello susan. Thank you for reading. Yes, neither Rome nor love is built in a day.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello drbj. What a lovely thing to say.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Good morning Jim. I suspect that you are enjoying our mild Winter. Perhaps love's greatest gift is teaching. Our greatest reward, learning.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

good morning bizarrett81. Thank you for the gracious comment. I must take some time aquaint myself with your writing. Thank you for reading.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Good morning butterfly! Little thought is needed from one who has shared so deeply the soul of another. I am certain such love was the consequence of building and its perfection established from a host of imperfections that did not deter your hearts from their ultimate destination. I love the word incubate. So appropriate in any discussion of love. Attraction is like the egg in need of incubation to develope. In time love will hatch and if nourished and tended to, two separate souls blend, entangle, and emerge more one than two. There we discover a mate which we may claim belongs to our soul. The search for a soul mate, it seems to me, is the wanting of a short cut. No planting, no tending, no toiling, just straight to the harvest. Love I think, is the making of a soul mate, like the nest, one twig at a time. I don't think we can find the perfect mate, but, I think we can build from imperfection that which is perfect enough. In short, do we find soul mates or do we become soul mates? I rather think loves true journey is one of becoming.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

But of course, thought is required, my dear Alan! - exactly because of how you went on to describe shining true love and soul-sharing! If one is blessed with its potential, it needs careful, constant tending and thought.

"Becoming" is surely the key thought! It's what every human being must begin to do from birth forward, individually! We're born with potential to become all or as much as whatever our potential IS as we reach for. The process of becoming utilizes and grows upon the genetic materials 'in there', i.e.: the inherent individual potential, but they need sufficient nourishment and tending.

So it is with love. It begins with the potential (if it's there) and becomes closer to its potential as it grows and nourishes the inherent potential truly 'in there'. That potential can't be implanted. But it can be neglected, stifled - or, enhanced and assisted.

Discovery and recognition of another who seems to 'fit' with one's own love potential, whose whole being seems in sync with and responsive to one's own is similar to a kind of birth full of potential for realizing what is 'in there' together. Every moment of real living and being either contributes to its becoming or detracts from it.

Love is not super-fragile, but neither is it impervious; and if it's not shared at the core, it's truly doomed to ever become much more than a tolerable shell; and possibly may become something much more devastating, no matter how earnestly one tries to build or maintain it. People get better guidance in selecting a car or a school to attend than for choosing a life-mate, unfortunately!

Yes, even the best of a person's or a love's potential requires regular care and tending. Your point is so well taken, Alan.

"Perfection" (whatever that is!) is NOT among the potentials or prerequisites of either life or love! And of course, that means one must lovingly meet & live with flaws and be strengthened from it. But a 'doable' flaw in life cannot be inability to breathe and a 'doable' flaw in love cannot be inability to give or take the breath of love. One can't 'work around' either of those.

I learned at one point that the ability to give and take the breath of love is truly a personal experience and joy - and part of one's inherent potential, independent of its fulfillment or reciprocation. It's a little like a peach growing on a tree - just as juicy and sweet in itself, whether or not it's ever sampled.

The beauty of that is being able to experience feeling it, whether it's "plugged in" to someone else or not. Of course, the ultimate joy is when it is, reciprocally.

When it does meet with another's ability of the same nature, it's beyond wonderful. "Soulmate" is a little misleading. Such a meeting of the hearts is not limited to happening only once; - but it's so rare, it's probably unlikely to happen more than that. Then add all the other 'ifs' and 'buts'' to it, odds of whether or not it would ever be able to 'birth', 'become' and flourish another time around do narrow! I certainly don't hold my breath waiting! Not that it wouldn't be wondrous- -but . . . .

You're so right! Its full realization - first time included - is never reached on 'automatic pilot', but by careful attention and maintenance, plus with various degrees of mutual tolerance, because people are wonderfully different! 'Identical' is not a prerequisite for true love, but tolerance for, or better yet, enjoyment of - those differences- IS! That's something that emerges out of and because of the love that exists - and then sustains it.

But - those differences can't include no-love-in-common or no-desire-to-handle-and-enjoy-differences! Trying to love - if it's absent as a potential - just isn't a realistic effort. Sure, creating a social institution called marriage and making a family within it, can happen and can survive as such. But even with all the plastic surgery being done nowadays - - real LOVE is one feature that can't be faked. - And who'd want it if it were fake?


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

If potential is the door then love is a wonerous key. If potential is out for a walk, its better to try another door. Unfortunately many doors are passed by in hopes of finding ones name already engraved. Differences are as necessary, I think, as sameness. Appreciating such variance is more conducive to a blend and if relationships are anything, they are inevitably, a blend. If it weren't for blending, I'd be stuck with just me. What a bore that would be. Makes me shudder to think of such solitary confinement.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Potential isn't a door, though, my Alan. It doesn't vacate or stand outside of the being or entity of which it's an intrinsic living essence. It can't be circumvented any more than one's heartbeat can be, - and still live; but it can be ignored, squashed and denied its path to its entity's fulfillment - as many also abuse their hearts to their detriment.

The idea that one can or will find an external key, place or object reserved for him or her is unrealistic, of course. Oneself IS the key, place and door with that personal name engraved on it. When it brings itself to join with another self which is also fully alive 'in there' - that is the wondrousness.

Being a good searcher for such another person isn't the answer. Being a good recognizer is. George told me he was business-traveling to a plant inspection in central Texas when he realized with clarity, "I love her!" wow. I also had my moment of clarity. These realizations didn't resolve all our obstacles. But they lit the way.

Yes - differences are essential to relationships. Boredom would be the horrid result of either identicalness OR perfection; - either state would be static (like zombies) and oh! so tiresome. At the same time, the differences and imperfections definitely call for more of a person's effort and ability to respond (responsibility) in order to be happily workable, and then - at every juncture, they still may bring their tense moments to challenge the peace.

It's extremely wise to know one's true 'tolerance' level (as in an allowable amount of variation of a specified quantity) of personal difference which can be compatibly met and survived. Extreme opposites may attract, but they're very often the hazardous shoals on which a relation-ship may crash and sink.

Blending is, indeed, inevitable in a successful & good relationship! I loved being blended when I was. I'm so happy that you experience blending, as should happen within intimate relationship! If you shudder at being alone, I hope you never need to be. I've observed, though, that you often relate moments when you are alone with the trees, the river and music as among your most precious moments. Am I mistaken?

For me, being alone isn't equivalent to solitary confinement or loneliness; but is merely an absence of intimate relationship, with each of those states bringing with it, its own merits. But I assure you, if I had my 'druthers', George would still be right here with me and we'd be blending within each phase of our ongoing lives together. My best choice now, though, is to continue, fully-alive myself, still a actively 'becoming' what-all my potential provides and my bones allow! :-) Had he survived me, that is what I'd want for him, as well. We were inseparable but were always a bit like Kahlil Gibran's description of marriage:

". . . Let love be a moving sea between the shores of your souls; . . . Let each of you be alone, even as the strings of the lute are alone, yet quiver with the same music; . . Stand together, yet not too near together; for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Having never been really alone I don't know what it is. I suppose I don't regard it as a proximity to those who are important to me. Until my mind and heart are alone I am not ever really alone. Dementia I think, creates a state of aloneness. Going off by myself does not really leave me alone because I can come back to all the things I love. Maybe real aloneness is when we can't come back?


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

This is a wonderful metaphor! And it speaks to me of truth and wisdom in relationships! Lovely, lovely write!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Hi, Alan. Your own experience and musings relating to what constitutes solitude are thoughtful and stir my further thoughts about it. That you've 'never been really alone' might mean that your heart and mind are never alone? I can definitely relate to that.

Ability to dwell in inner clarity and serenity, without need to rely on physical stimulation & mingling with others to determine either one's sense of aloneness or sense of connection with people feels natural and comforting. Is that part of it?

Oh, dear - being unable to come back to one's physical reality from physically leaving it would seem a "sentence" of feeling so alone that it would be like isolation or alienation. That would make me shudder too! I've never actually felt lonely or alone, in fact - despite physically being by myself quite a lot.

Your observation about dementia causing a sense of aloneness, even loneliness in the person suffering it is so very accurate, Alan. It really would really mean being unable to come back, wouldn't it? To lose a clear grasp of what is happening in one's surroundings and being isolated in a fuzzy view of it must be the ultimate sense of isolation. Clarity and full consciousness are nourishment & so essential to my being.

Surely attitudes about being alone are as different and personal as anything else which define individuals Some panic if they're not surrounded by company; the more, the better. Other's feel smothered if they're subjected to such company when they need solitude. Whichever concept it is may be surely relates partly to the personal nature or partly to personal experiences which have molded the individual over time, I'd suppose.


Darrylmdavis profile image

Darrylmdavis 3 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

I rather enjoyed this crisp and measured work. Well done :-)


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Audrey, thanks so much for your comment. This piece speaks to me in such a way and I cling to it almost as a foundation from which I construct my view of love and life.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Good morning Nellieanna. I am unsure about aloneness for others, but for me, my life is connected to others by experience and that experience is eternal. My daily want is to build upon those experiences as long as life will let me. As I reflect upon the day my thoughts are divided between where I've been and where I wish to go. Where I've been never departs and so I am forever connected to those I love. In loosing someone, the loss I feel are the additional experiences I will never have. That is what I grieve, but, yesterday is forever mine. Every yesterday spent with George is forever yours. I have lost my proximity to my father and my brother and in that I grieve, but, I have not lost them. I am not ever completely alone until they vacate my thought. Loneliness on the other hand is an isolation which deprives us of connection. I suppose why you can sit in a room with many people and still be lonely without being alone. It is, I think, connectiveness, we need and want. I suppose that connectiveness isn't contingent upon proximity. None the less, proximity certainly gives us a sense of emotional security. Perhaps that is what we grieve. I am not sure. Perhaps such loss brings the feeling of aloneness. Undoubtably, feelings often taint reality. I lost my father at 18 and my brother 10 years ago. There isn't a week that goes by without me thinking of them. Our tomorrows are gone, our yesterdays forever safe. I am not alone and yet there is loneliness when I think of them. I think you are right. Connection is intimacy and that is what we miss.


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Darrylmdavis, Thanks for reading and for your gracious comment.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Good afternoon, Alan - some hours later! Many things transpiring since you wrote your gracious reply, for which I abundantly thank you.

Yes, it is our experience with our others which writes them indelibly on our memories, as you say. And yes, the cessation of ongoing experiences is what we feel as loss when they're no longer in our actual realm, as you say. But of course, these are inevitables over lifetimes, aren't they?

For me, it's been almost a 'given' that I'd outlive almost everyone I've treasured over my life,- by my birth order, to begin with, and eventually, just with the passage of the time of my lengthy survival and their earlier passing (as relates to my time) in one manner or the other.

Losses of my natal family whom I personally knew began tragically with crucial direct effects on my life with the death of my eldest sister & her family 60 years ago, in an accident of which I was barely spared myself by odd twists of fate. Then the losses range through the natural deaths of my parents, through another tragic death - my brother; and, finally to the peaceful passing at age 92 of the last living member of my natal family, my other sister just last May. All my grandparents had gone on when I was born except one, my paternal grandmother, who was elderly when she lived with my family at the time I was born. She was spending periods of her last years with each of her 4 sons, Dad being her first-born. She moved on from our Texas home to homes of the other sons in Indiana by the time I was barely old enough to form vivid impressions of her, other than her stoic staidness and strain with my Mother, whose disposition was the opposite. Mother's mother passed away the month before I was born and I was always quite aware of a deep sense of loss there. But I never knew her, of course.

Of course I've also loved a mate fully and deeply to whom I was a relative youngster, so that we were, in a way, living on borrowed time whose marker was called nearly 5 years ago, but, oh yes - each second of our 29 years together was precious and lives brightly in my memory, as you mention.

It happens that my closest friends of a lifetime are all passed on, as well, but for one, whose life is greatly diminished. My precious children were cruelly purloined from me, one still remaining distant; which presents grievous loss from both directions. I, myself, came close to being a casualty of that tragedy, also. It's odd to think of one's own close calls, but it keeps one aware that life is tenuous and precious every moment!

Had I ever let losses dominate my sense of, as you so well put it, "emotional security" - or my sense of the reality of love and unbreakable connection with those I love, I'd be of all people, the most desolate, lonely and cut-off. No actual personal demise could quite equal that, I'm thinking.

So - I'm simply a realistic optimist and/or an optimistic realist. The outstanding quality of life is its insecurity. Learning to live fully in that light is perhaps what it's about. My mother used to say that she couldn't 'pad the corners' for her children & that is so true. But one can learn from the corners encountered to better circumvent them & to apply one's own realistic emotional padding when they're encountered.

All that you've mentioned which you've learned through your own life's experiences, seems similar to what I've learned about what life IS and means through mine, both because of & in rising above all its challenges, though we each may explain ours individually.

So - oh yes, I'm always close to or in the midst of my special (indeed, my chosen) people whom I most value & in whose company I most delight and revel. I perceive your feeling for those you love is also deep, intense and undeniable. N'est pas?

If we each have had & have those kinds of companionship, connectedness and timeless intimacy, then, of course, they're enriching personal experiences and also shared experience, by familiarity.

I truly grieve very little, and that is more for living loved ones who choose emotional distance, in which I honestly feel pity above grief. They cause me to feel no abiding loneliness. Perhaps loneliness in one's life circumstances is a bit like 'boredom'. I honestly can't imagine ever feeling bored. It seems similar to loneliness, though of course, unlike boredom which is mostly one's own doing or undoing, one can't cause, require or summon the actua presence of others to occur where one is. But if it doesn't, one needn't despair, but can call upon his or her resources of spirit & memory to fill in the gaps. Then when it does happen that loved ones are close-by, that is all the more wonderful, if it is mutually shared and enjoyed. But proximity alone has little value, does it?


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Boredom is, I think, a self inflicted loneliness. My mother used to respond to our claims of boredom with " not to worry, I'll give you something to do" and with that we scurried frantically for the outside.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Smiling. Yes, surely one can depend on mommas to cure a state of boredom or to fix an excuse of boredom! That's a great peak into your upbringing. hehehehe!


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon Author

Mom's most repeticious advice in our lives; "consider the source". I can hear her even as I write. We 5 children were obviously asking her to daily bandage our bruises. I'm sure as I look at life today, those words have constructed my own self worth in the light of all criticism. As I consider the source, most criticism rolls harmlessly away.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Again smiling, partly at my 'slip' when I used 'peak' when I meant 'peek'. Perhaps each fit my meaning, though I was unaware of the one that slipped out.

I was one of 4 siblings, but the others were already nearly grown when I came along & was learning life lessons from our parents, so I was treated almost like an only child. I never heard any blanket admonitionsl hehe. Dad was the more specific with useful admonitions & lessons. I listened to him in rapt attention to internalize his teachings. Mother was the more exemplary & I simply followed her around a lot, observing & mimicking what & how she did things. It was almost like individual left & right brain training.

So your mother had a way to instill your sense of responsibility rather than letting you expect to be consoled or vilified if attacked by others. I like that & your very strong sense of personal responsibility speaks for its effectiveness.

My mother had her own way to instill independence & responsibility in me, though I can't recall her ever giving a specific admonition like 'consider the source' regarding others' input, if she were even aware of any I had suffered, if I did. She was sensitive to criticism herself but her focus was on what she was doing or could do about it, more than whether or not the criticism merited further consideration, I suppose.

She often said, 'laugh & the world laughs with you; cry & you cry alone." She had a keen sense of humor & fun, which was among her own defenses, probably. She also moved so quickly among her interests that attacks probably couldn't catch up with her!

One instance of her valuable advice which really stands out in my memory was when I had a broken leg in a whole-leg cast, quite limited by it. She advised me to become involved in doing something interesting, rather than begging & yelling for my playmates to come away from their own activities & play with me, as I'd been doing. She said maybe they'd be interested in seeing what had interested me if I did that; but that, either way, I'd be having much more fun, with or without them. As it worked out, they did stop their own play for a moment to come see what it was I was doing! But since it offered them little opportunity to participate which they wanted, their attention was brief. haha. It taught me that one must like one's own interests & efforts, whether or not anyone else is sufficiently interested to linger for them. Doesn't matter if one still derives the benefits of them oneself.

It's so interesting to recall the various experiences which helped make us who we've become, isn't it? I enjoy hearing about some of yours.


CJ Sledgehammer 3 years ago

Well done, Alan, well done indeed!!!

Just yesterday my sons and I were taking a splendid little nature hike and saw a beautiful bald eagle flying just above us. We marveled at this sight for a good ten minutes before she flew away. So peaceful, so majestic and so powerful.

Knowing that the Eagle mates for life makes this poem all the more meaningful for me. I am so thankful to have read it and I shall leave a better man as a result.

With God as my shield - C.J. Sledgehammer

P.S. Voted up and away!!! Speaking of away, I will be leaving for a spell, so until then...best wishes, behave and be well - C.J.

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