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Original Poem: "Love Among the Relics: A Suite of Seven Movements" with Commentaries

Updated on March 15, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, and taking a creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my growing interest.

Relics of the Cold War


Introduction: from Robert Browning's "Love Among the Ruins

O heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
Earth's returns
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!

I. A Father's Love

Twisted vines hem him along
A sun ball shimmers on the tarn
The hill globs the valley's tongue
Morning bends over the barn

A ribbon of light cuts through the dark
The bridge hitches the road
And now he hears the red dog bark
And readies his heavy load

After spring fuses the lilac bushes
And all sweet love is pining
He'll breathe a sigh that never pushes
The twisted veil from vining

Then night will gather him in her arms
While the red dog will be straying
Over the bridge that fastens the charms
That fetch the soul to praying

II. A Mother's Love

Rosemary, basil, sage
Tomatoes growing on the vine
Thyme in her purple blooms
Fat, round mushrooms

Creatures gather in the coven
Black eyes light the night
Stirring the air with zest
Pulling the bread from the oven

Beating the drum, swirling the broom
Blue veil sweeping the living room
Standing stone still before the clock
Listening to the cradle knock

She draws your heart across her mood
Listening for your silent nod
She thirsts to be well understood
Before the day of burning sod

They cannot give her
What they do not have
As their tortured souls
Tout the grave

III. A Brother's Love

He failed to appear
But I feel I know his anguish
I have seen it in the eyes
Of many men and boys

I think I know his confusion
As clearly as my own
But he never bullied me
And I love him for that

IV. A Son’s Love

A chicken & an egg go for a walk
Two chickens return
& split on separate ways

The moon spies on the earth
For the sun who sends reports
To the eye of God

The tree of life stands on the hill
Birds tweet songs in the branches
Then lift & scatter across blue worlds

Day & night the marbles roll
Respecting gravity's need
To hold tight to things

Grace & beauty tangle
As the wind lashes ashes
From the urn of hope

The storm subsides
Mothers fade
& animals flee

V. A Daughter’s Love

As a calf loves a horse
As a zipper loves a button
As rain loves an umbrella
As a nose loves an ear
As a spider loves a cat
As a shoe loves an earring
As a tooth loves a diamond
As snow loves a tree
As a marble loves a bird
Maybe love's too strong a word

VI. A Blank Page’s Love

Yes, dear , you would not understand—
But that’s not necessary. Besides,
I don’t understand either.

But here we are. And you know not why—
Lest I sound arrogant, I’ll just say,
Neither do I.

Your blankness fills my mind
With thoughts of melancholy
And fairy-dancing ethereal glumness.

O, how your brother likes to bolshevise.
But that’s neither here nor there,
Request an answer

That you have already
Decided is pure crap.
Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee.

O, wait—shee, shee, shee, shee, shee!
Just a retro response
To a distraction.

I know the blank page
Is luring me to blaspheme
And cauterize thoughts

That have been roaming
The ether for centuries—
Go, go, go, girl

You know the fingers
Of joy . . .

VII. God’s Love

I’m not a good daughter
Mommy and Daddy could attest to that—
But God loves me

I’m not a good niece
My aunts and uncles would say that’s so—
But God loves me

I’m not a good cousin
My cousins would not sing my praises—
But God loves me

I’m not a good mother
My children gladly confirm—
But God loves me

I’m not a good grandmother
My grandchildren can back that up—
But God loves me

I’m not a good aunt
My nieces can corroborate—
But God loves me

I’m not a good friend—
But God loves me


The following commentaries cover the preceding poems.

I. A Father's Love

Fathers and daughters often go together like oil and water. A relationship of complete harmony would likely disturb the world, so the speaker of this poem will leave her little taste of vinegar and move on.

II. A Mother's Love

Pleasing one's mother remains one of the most bittersweet challenges of all time. Loving the mother with all one's heart is not enough, for the mother or the daughter. Pray together to stay together even beyond death.

III. A Brother's Love

For the girl who did not grow up with a brother, that love will always remain elusive. Even a brother-in-law cannot substitute. Let go what you don't know, let go, let go.

IV. A Son’s Love

The love of a son should be quiet as a feather dropping on cotton, as strong as a redwood standing in a Redwood Forest, as constant as the moon circling the sun, and as true as the river seeking the ocean.

V. A Daughter’s Love

Seriously, she would love you if she could find her heart. She would understand you if she could sense her soul.

VI. A Blank Page’s Love

A writer possesses a thousand faces and a thousand voices, and sometimes she cannot see or hear any of them.

VII. God’s Love

I am a soul, I am here, and God loves me.

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes


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