Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10: Love is like . . .

Today, OctPoWriMo asks us to write a sort of collaborative or reply poem by reading and rereading a poem that moved us -- and then writing a response. Here is Ron Potter's poem, "Love is like . . . "

Love is Like

Love is like
open heart surgery;
learning to trust your doctor.
Let him cut your breastbone
and open you down the center,
exposing the innermost sanctum:
The holy of holy's,
where only a high priest can enter,
once a year with a rope round his leg
to pull him out fast
in case your wrath is aroused.

Love is like walking on coals
in soft tender soles
more used to loafers or slippers.
And after that glass
with shards turned up to hurt you.

Love is like finding out
that none of those tests were worthy
of who you are or who you've become.

Love is like walking out
and finding that doubt
is actually a very nice feeling,
and you can learn to live there
with less and less care.
Love is when
you lay down your burden.

Love is Like

Love is like
a poem I have found
and cannot forget: 
and yet return to find myself
in those particular words
as one who dives 
into the dark side of the reef
where black water waits,
my only hope
the air in the mask
and those who wait on the shore.

Love is like floating above the abyss
with long flippers to ease
each stroke, feet
more used to walking 
than flying through water.
And after that, far below,
fish feed among brain coral,
and I feel the immense coldness
of the sea.

Love is like finding out
that none of this defines
who I was or who I will become.

Love is like emerging from the sea
no longer alone. Your words
spill out as if you understand 
exactly what I left behind,
there in the dark deep, 
that which will return in the night.
Love is when you reach out to me,
and I am with you.

I'm not sure I understand Ron's poem, but I do love every line. Thank you, Ron, for the inspiration that led to my response.

Writing this, I was reminded of the first time I went snorkeling in the waters off Honduras. The captain had us work with masks in waist-deep water and we saw fish nibbling at our toes. For our second dive, we neophytes floated above some 30 feet of water to see fish and seaweed swaying amid the coral reef below. The last dive some refused to do, for we were some 70-100 feet above that point where the edge of the reef deepens to the darkest sea. Somehow, swimming there, I felt free, a part of the sea and separate, perhaps a bit immortal for just that moment.

I cannot find a picture that captures that line, on one side the reef far below, full of life, and on the other side of the line, the end of the coastal shelf marked by the darkest sea, mysterious, unending, essentially unknowable -- at least by this casual snorkler.

Read what others have written for OctPoWriMo here.


  1. Hi Beth. Thank you for honoring my poem. I love yours. The feeling of meeting something that is ominous and wondrous but also which shakes us up, and then we come back into the warm company of others and especially the one who knows us so well to understand. It is love and lucky are the ones who experience this.

  2. Thank you, Ron, for reading and commenting. I wasn't sure it would be OK to use your poem, but I do really like the stark awareness it contains.

  3. Loved much! " Love is when you reach out to me,
    and I am with you."