July 1, 2013

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

If we were all poets, and we wrote poems regularly, there would be more love poems. There is no specific time for love to develop, but I say summer provides a setting like no other, with opportunities for movement and adventure slowed some in other seasons. I constantly browse (eyes in books) through my collection of poetry and came upon a small, by size, book not long ago. The title, “Love Poems Old and New.” This is a special book, published in 1943, one of the years of World War II. Catherine Connell selected the poems published by Random House, New York City. That is not why it is special. We quote, “THIS IS A RANDOM HOUSE WARTIME BOOK. It is manufactured under emergency conditions and complies with the government’s request to conserve essential materials in every possible way.” It is about 4 by 6 inches. It was also published in Canada at the same time. Catherine’s foreword clears up one mystery I had. She claimed therein, Greek for anthology, means a collection of flowers, sometimes called garlands or bouquets. Since the published date is 1943, there is no Pablo Neruda with his love poems among the plainspoken and lustful of this vein of poetry. At that time poets in modern language strange to Americans were not translated here.

We recognize from ours and others experiences told, that love has few boundaries, but I found his rules in this work by Carl Sandburg.

Explanation of Love

There is a place where love begins and a place
where love ends.

There is a touch of two hands that foils all

There is a look of eyes fierce as a big Bethlehem
open-house furnace or a little green-eyed
acetylene torch.

There are single careless bywords portentous as
the big bend in the Mississippi River.

Hands, eyes, bywords—out of these love makes
battlegrounds and workshops.

There is a pair of shoes love wears
and the coming is a mystery.

There is a warning love sends and the cost of it
is never written till long afterward.

There are explanations of love in all languages
and not one found wiser than this:

There is a place where love begins and a place where
love ends— and love asks nothing.

This is the “explanation” Carl Sandburg wanted to sell us. What is wrong with a warm night, a county fair with a bright and active midway, and a desirable companion. Is that a formula? It is summertime, with a fair near you and your sweetie. Put some bills in your pocket and be ready to spend money on the adventure you have launched. We will push more love stories your way, via poets and poems. Beware, maybe not in August, but soon. Thanks.