TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Marriage

Tyranny of Mind

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4AM
and you a warm lump
under the covers
of Morpheus

Me wide awake
eyes moist with tears
I write
lest I forget
the vulnerability of you
yesterday

lest one day
you ARE no longer
a day of dread
so locked into desire
for your presence am I
fearful of the future
lest it tears me from you
or me from you

Not yet awake

to the wisdom
of the sages and the ages
to live forever in the present

“Until death do us part”

The import of those words
have begun to resound
with a fierce vengeance
now decades later

The treasure of you
multiplies like the loaves and fishes

I fear a famine
not of food
but of your presence

I try to hold each wrinkled emotion
on your face
in a forever place
lest you be torn from me

The specter of loss
hangs over me
haunting our life together

And yesterday
when you cried
when you disguised your tears
with embarrassed laughter
your eyes dripped diamonds,
sparkling as they fell
in response to mine

I crying because
there will never be
a “happily ever after”
at our age
sure as shooting
death will come
and rip us asunder

Perhaps our love
will be born again
in Samsara
but it is a “perhaps”
without a guarantee

My faith is faint

My heart shudders
and flutters
under the threat
of separation
as you lay
a lump of warmth
in the land of Nod

Our love a fairy tale
in a fierce steely reality
of endings.

“Unless we can discover that basic ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others.”
Chogyam Trungpa


Alone Together


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You stand before me

in total vulnerability

openness spread across your face

how can I resist

I am powerless

before such love

before your open heart

and yet you have to go

live life in your world

after all

though we share so much

we remain alone

 we make love,

or not,

no matter

 our foundation

is deep and strong

how can it be that

our two bodies

though sometimes

joined in union

remain separate

paradoxically

keeping us apart

how can it be that

our bodies

will break my heart

in the end

for we will die

alone

how can it be that

our bodies

vessels of union

will keep us apart

that one day two hearts

that beat as one

will leave this bodily union

alone

Death cannot sever

our binding bond

though it rips us

asunder

(Dedicated to Thomas, my husband of almost 25 years, with all I have to give)


Two Lips of Forever Love

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He didn’t “get it,

the “loss thing,”

when my aunt died mid-April,

and I lost my second mother.

Didn’t “get it” when I lost my first.

This was not the only time

he was lost in oblivion and

puzzled by my tears.

            *

He didn’t see me hurting

from the loss of my lineage,

and his lack of empathy for my grief

as he made me meet and greet

a friend the next day, as if all was normal.

This time I balked, bolder and older,

and he agreed it was time to ponder

and talk with his mentor.

            *

When he came home

one night days later,

full of hugs of apology,

and tulips on the kitchen counter,

it was a breakthrough for us both.

It took a few days

but what came out

brought tears upon tears.

           *

Not having grown up

with emotional displays

he didn’t “get” the meaning of loss.

With no models of grief

he didn’t know how to feel it himself

nor how to give solace,

not just lip service,

to those who had lost.

          *

 I cried for him.

How very sad, as a child

he didn’t know the love I knew.

He, a sensitive child,

in an icebox family

fraught with frigid emotion,

and warm, deep affection only

from his great-aunt, Dot.

        *

He brought me pink tulips,

flowers of a contrite heart,

and held me close

and kissed me

with lips full of apologies

but I was the one

who felt sorry for him

for the years he knew not love.

*

Twenty-eight years ago

God told me “Love this man,

trust him and have faith in him,

and hold him to your heart.”

Many moons later, I love him light-years

more than the day we met

and in then-unimaginable ways

has our love strove for the stars.

*

He has brought me:

kindness and gentleness,

generosity of spirit,

goodness of heart,

and healing humor.

What I have taught him:

the glories of love

and agony of loss.

        *

From the beginning

the seed of love was sown

for better or worse

deeply within the parched,

but fertile soil of my imperfect heart.

And he has cultivated the growth

of a stalwart, staid evergreen,

amid the blooming two-lips of forever love.


The Line is Dead

She’s finally gone

after fighting for life for

6 months of painful half-life

and multiple causes of death.

               *

Gone is my last link

with Grandma and Grandpa

and happy days in Larchmont,

Grandpa playing the mandolin,

me dancing,

and Grandma cooking

unimaginable treats.

Happy days in Larchmont,

the Larchmont one weekend

Aunt Nina and I revisited

with our respective spouses

and cried tears of nostalgia.

                     *

Aunt Nina died Saturday,

the last of the LaMannas,

the aunt who knit the best-ever

Christmas stockings for

my brother and sister and me

which I still drag out every year.

The aunt who let me

play with her jewelry

in her blue bedroom

in Larchmont

with light that slid in

through the venetian blinds

and danced a jitterbug

atop Renoir prints,

with twin beds

covered in puff-ball bed spreads,

kept so clean by Grandma and

Aunt Nina wanting to sleep

and me pestering her to play.

                    *

Aunt Nina took me home once by taxi,

back to the city I hated

when I was sick.

She nursed me on the ride

And said “hang in there”

and held my hand

as I said to her a month ago

as she lay shriveled into a ghost

of her former self.

          *

Gone are the days

of spaghetti and meatballs,

Arancini and sugar cookies,

wine and mandolin,

chewing gum in the desk,

watching at the windows

with Grandpa, as evening

fell all around.

Days of Big Grandma Castiglione

in her light-filled, white-tiled,

lace-curtained, one-room apartment,

with holy water font

and the smell of steam

in the yellow kitchen.

             *

Gone are the days of

visiting Nina as she raised

her two “adopted angels”

as they were called,

and, who, with my uncle, she crafted

into two magnificent children

and later had four grandchildren

who adored them both.

Larchmont repeated.

            *

Gone are the days of

visiting Aunt Nina in Kent, CT

and later in Danbury,

now much older and

with my husband whom

Aunt Nina and Uncle Ray

welcomed with open arms

and grew to love,

my husband of almost 24 years

who never knew this love as a child

and so does not know its loss.

            *

Gone are the days

of a phone call

every few weeks,

Aunt Nina always seeming

happy to hear my voice as

she exclaimed “Ellen!”

as we talked about problems:

difficulties in the best of marriages

the downhill spiral of my Mom

after Dad died,

Nina giving support while

my husband and I cared for Mom

during her difficult path to death,

Aunt Nina listening to me recount

the downhill spiral of my brother

as he spent 3 years

dying of lung cancer.

And we talked of our

problems with anxiety

and later of her sorrow and fears

as her friends were dying

and she was fighting Parkinson’s,

bravely shouldering through every day.

           *

Gone are the days

of pasta salads and olives

and prosciutto and provolone

as Aunt Nina and Uncle Ray

visited our little barn upstate,

where we laughed and laughed

in the Memorial Days sunshine.

          *

Gone gone gone

my Italian heritage,

the last of my blood elders.

Aunt Nina was there

For 63 years,

All of my life

and all I can do

is cry

and try

to imitate

her admirable character.

For the Lord giveth and

the Lord taketh away

but why such pain

when he taketh away?

          *

Because love grew

year by year

visit by visit

phone call by phone call.

I did thank her,

before the end began,

in a foresightful note,

telling how great an aunt she was.

God put the thought in my head,

and for that I am grateful,

for now it is too late

for now the line is dead.


“Let’s Just Hold Hands”

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They have been married for 52 years.

Now she is in rehab

on a feeding tube,

a phantom of her former self,

so frail.

And he is hail

for her.

He says to her:

“Let’s not talk about the past.

Let’s not talk about the future.

Let’s just sit here and hold hands.”

And so they sat for three hours

until the darkness fell.


“Moonlight Savings Time”

I awaken to moonlight– it is that particular slant of silver that lights up the front yard at 3 AM.  What really has awakened me is my husband’s breathing.  It is labored like he has just run up a flight of stairs.  At times I awaken because I do not hear his breath and some alarm goes off in my head to check on him.  If I cannot hear him breathing I put my hand ever so lightly on his chest so as not to wake him, to see if I can feel his heart beating.  Feeling it pulsing in my hand I am reassured once more.  I am not alone in this breath-check business.  My sister-in-law confides in me that she wakes up at night to listen to my brother to see if he is still breathing.  My grade school friend says much the same.  Our husbands are relatively well.  They have diabetes, heavy smoking/drinking, and a delicate frame among them, but they are not on death’s door so far as we know.  And yet we are plagued by morbid fears.

In the wee hours of morning hobgoblins of fear loom large.  My husband’s heartbeat, a mere flutter, seems so delicate.  I am reassured that it is beating just as I am reassured that he is breathing.  But the breath itself is so fragile.  It scares me– the fragility of the breath, the fine line between breathing and the cessation of breath.

I prowl the house.  Through the bathroom skylight the stars beam brightly, offset by the shining, silver sliver of moonlight.  It will be a clear day tomorrow.  But it is already tomorrow.  It is so still my ears hum.  My husband, who knows so many interesting things, tells me the humming I hear is the sound of the nervous system.  Our bodies hold such mystery.

I look out the window, now hearing my neighbor’s dogs barking quietly.  I look for coyote thinking that is what they are barking at, but see nothing.  The moonlit grass on the lawn is an expanse of white, looking almost as if it had snowed, and the water in the marsh sparkles spangles of moonlight.  The deep woods behind are pitch dark, the home of many a creature. Nothing stirs.  It is too early for the birds.  The house across the way is always dark; it is up for sale.  And in the other direction, at this hour, no light shines in the driveway of the house down the road.

I am reminded of a line from a poem by Tagore “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”  I am at my most faithless at 3 AM.

Along with the supreme beauty of Tagore’s thoughts, a frivolous line from an old song runs through my head, like a commercial ruining a masterpiece of film: “There ought to be a moonlight savings time…” and the line continues “so there would be more time for loving” or some such drivel—perhaps meant for the piquant ting of a new fling.

I check email and surf the web to try to dispel the feeling of aloneness but it merely accentuates it. Finally, chilled, I go back to bed. An owl hoots in the distance– a reassuring sound.  My husband is breathing freely now.  His body is warm in the bed and I am filled to the brim with love for him as he lays in a heap, so trustingly in the arms of sleep.  Our marriage is an unlikely and unexpected wonder.  A seemingly endless source of ever-increasing love.  A double-edged sword, for with that love comes the terror of its loss. Death can come in an instant, at any time.  We live our lives in daily denial of how vulnerable and powerless we all are.

Perhaps the only control we have is over our own thoughts.  I score low in that department.  Perhaps all wives check their husbands for breathing.  Perhaps there is an army of women out there prowling the wee hours of the night, at times by moonlight, checking on their husbands, their children, their animals to see that they all have that breath of life still flowing.

“There ought to be a moonlight savings time…”  I thank God, at such times, there is not.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)