The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, February 05, 2007

On Being Loved

By Jennifer McDougall

All of us are better when we’re loved.

The final line of Alistair MacLeod’s novel No Great Mischief (1999).

The offer of open arms
A gentle hand warming our own
Encouraging words
These gestures of caring
When are they love?
When are they pity?

Object of admiration
Source of pride
Centrepiece of amusement
Are we loved
or are we simply desired?

Love confounds us.
Often confused
with passion and enthusiasm
with support and protection
with appreciation and loyalty.
Its source fleeting.

Love is craved by all,
yet it cannot
be created,
or be purchased,
or demanded.

We show kindness and respect
behave deservingly
declare our love for others
hope it will come back to us
but in the end
we have little to do with it;
love is a reaction
inspired purely by our presence.

Love percolates
over time
within another person’s soul,
to which we have no access.

To witness this unique sensation,
we wait patiently,
pay keen attention
to barely visible indicators.

When we glimpse it
(perhaps tipped off by our need for it, but more often not)
love appears
a bended elbow,
a sigh of gratitude,
a fascinated gaze.

The signs and sounds
of love
greet us long before
the words
I love you
are spoken.

We recognize love
without confirmation
we know love because
it is a message of joy
sent directly from the soul.

Love slips back into hiding
as work and play return to centre stage,
life goes on,
but this emotion remains
beneath the surface. A foundation
every interaction we share with that person.

To be loved is to be left
brimming with contentment
and peace,
so that we may inspire goodness in others.
And then, we too
are better again.


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

What a lovely poetic surprise this morning. When are they love? When are they pity? You've captured the confusion, Jen, the ever present doubt. Thanks.

Tue Feb 06, 03:02:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger H.E.Eigler said...

This made me misty eyed! These February posts have been outstanding so far.

I can't believe how much force your set of words - a bended elbow - has within the context of the piece as a whole.

I'm stumped for ways to describe how it affected me, really.

Tue Feb 06, 04:34:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Patricia said...

This is so beautiful Jen, I'm sure you have love in your life. Thank you for posting this. xo

Tue Feb 06, 05:14:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Great post, Jen. What the hell do I do to follow this up?

Tue Feb 06, 09:17:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I showed this post to my daughter. "Do you like it?"
"Yeah, well kind of," she said.
"Ok. What don't you like about it?" I asked.
"That it's long and boring."
Sure glad the rest of you were more encouraging :) ~Jen

Tue Feb 06, 10:20:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely sentiments, Jen.

Diane, The Maple Room

Thu Feb 08, 05:53:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Jake MacKillan said...

Simply wunnerful

Sat Feb 10, 04:20:00 pm GMT-5  

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