Wednesday, October 28, 2009

True Love

I have been thinking a lot about this poem by Sharon Olds.

True Love

In the middle of the night, when we get up
after making love, we look at each other in
complete friendship, we know so fully
what the other has been doing. Bound to each other
like mountaineers coming down from a mountain,
bound with the tie of the delivery-room,
we wander down the hall to the bathroom, I can
hardly walk, I wobble through the granular
shadowless air, I know where you are
with my eyes closed, we are bound to each other
with huge invisible threads, our sexes
muted, exhausted, crushed, the whole
body a sex -- surely this
is the most blessed time of my life,
our children asleep in their beds, each fate
like a vein of abiding-mineral
not discovered yet. I sit
on the toilet in the night, you are somewhere in the room,
I open the window and snow has fallen in a
steep drift, against the pane, I
look up, into it,
a wall of cold crystals, silent
and glistening, I quietly call to you
and you come and hold my hand and I say
I cannot see beyond it, I cannot see beyond it.

I realized that what makes this poem so beautiful, what makes it more than just a poem about two people getting up to pee after sex, is that she and her true love are bound to each other. In fact she uses the word bound three times. Bound like mountaineers. Mountain climbing is dangerous. You are tied with rope but also with a trust. Life or death is involved, and I don't think there is any greater trust than to trust someone with your life.

There is also the tie of the delivery room--their children, asleep in their beds. If you've ever had to be separated overnight from your little ones, you know that there is no greater peace than having them home, asleep and accounted for.

And then there is sex that binds them. What a wonderful feeling to barely be able to walk through the dark to the bathroom. I hope you all know it.

To me, this poem illustrates God's plan of happiness. It is God's plan that men and women be bound to each other and that they have families, "that they may have joy and rejoicing in their posterity."

I don't know if Sharon Olds knows God's plan of happiness, but it is working in her life. In the exact middle of the poem is the line "surely this is the most blessed time of my life."


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