9 thoughts on “longing

      • Your verse is so sharp with insight and yet so vulnerable. In eleven words. It is so rare a thing that you can do. I feel my whole life my Muse has been Longing itself, an ever-reaching, an ever-aching. And to read this poem of yours felt like being recognized, so I thank you, too. I am so curious, have you ever read any of Michael Donaghy’s works? In his collection ‘Shibboleth’ there is a poem called ‘Deceit’ in which he writes, “Desire attained is not desire / However slyly we conspire / We cannot hold the thing entire” He was a master American poet and Irish traditionalist musician. His works rattle and haunt in the best way. But I could go on, heavens, please forgive my long comment, George.

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      • There is nothing in your comments to apologize for, dear Allison. They are insightful and inspiring. What you write about is dear to my heart, whether it’s the Moon or Donaghy. Deceit is a masterful piece. It’s the closest he came to reminding me of WB Yeats, another Irish poet, whom I highly recommend. I incorporated one of his verses–one of my favorites from Yeats–into a textbook of mine: A Prayer for My Daughter. He composed so many beautiful works. As did Donaghy. There’s a verse of his that comes back to me: “Sometimes your writing’s a soft tangle of subtleties, undercutting one another, blurring the paths, and you arrive at a washed out bridge or rockslide. Leave it. Don’t try to end what’s finished.” Which reminds me of Deceit–the subtle, the superficial or misunderstood. Or not quite attained. “Desire attained is not desire.” How very powerful such longing can be. There’s almost something Taoist in that statement, but more simply–how enticing and motivating is the desire itself? And how can it survive when once the object of that desire is attained? Donaghy feels to me perhaps more than many other poets to be a man who truly did live in the moment. But not always. And knew what that felt like, too.

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      • Such beautiful inspiring thoughts, thank you for sharing all of this with me. You have reminded me I have a collection of Yeats which I never gave enough time to, thank you for this. I will now. Your questions about desire reminded me of a translation of the fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson from “If Not, Winter” wherein she expands upon the idea of the triangle of love, or at least of attraction, as consisting of the lover, the beloved, and desire itself, as in the distance which separates the two also keeps them connected. What the lover wants most is to collapse that distance, and yet, if she does…. Anne Carson of course explains this in much finer detail than I, but that concept struck me. Speaking with you always conjures many insights and thoughts, dear George. Thank you, as ever.

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      • Thank you, Allison. I’m so glad you appreciate these lengthy responses–how writers connect online, how thoughts are shared. And your responses and thoughts are always appreciate. Anne Carson–I need to look her up. Always learning things. It is such a compelling concept, very much like desire attained is not desire. Desire–the third component, perhaps, in the eyes of the one who feels such longing, it is the first element of this love triangle. Where do I recall that from? Years ago, I think. Shakespeare? Somebody describing Romeo as “in love with love.” The loved one is not as compelling a need as is the desire itself.

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      • Oh, I really do appreciate your thoughts and the connections we are able to make as we share with each other. It is rare, and I am so glad for it. You say it perfectly “in love with love” .. I do often wonder if all forms of worship, adoration, need, longing, obsession, art, poetry, and/or what some may call “love,” come from a place within us which is insatiable and yet constantly seeks to destroy itself. It is as beautiful and enchanting as it is ecstatically painful and distorted.

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      • Ecstatically painful and distorted. Indeed, yes. The enchanting and the beautiful is so very compelling, and rises so high in our estimation. And yet love–and even pleasure–is by no means the absence of pain. As the years go by, it becomes harder to even imagine the one without the other as youthful idealism gives way to honest experience. … Still, the occasional night of ecstatic pleasure wouldn’t go amiss.

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      • Mmm.. would not go amiss indeed. There is so much I could say, you make me think so many thoughts. This axis of pleasure /pain, the illusion that they can be separated from one another. My book Luminae is an exploration of this, what Jung called Lumen Naturae which “is the light of the darkness itself, which illuminates its own darkness, and this light the darkness comprehends” …one within the other for all eternity…. there is something about pain which fascinates me, the way it clarifies, it focuses, in some cases, purifies. Thank you always for listening, dear George. You are so much more than generous.

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