Love and poetry, across the span of time, have always shared a synergistic, ever-evolving connection. Scientists, psychologists, thinkers, and linguists have spent millennia trying to nail down a precise, all-inclusive definition for them, and every attempt has fallen short. Maybe it’s because love and poetry cannot be defined – maybe only identified, experienced, and cherished. Perhaps this is the reason why we turn to poets – writers, singers, griots, musicians, band leaders – to inform and exercise our feelings and ideas on Love. To that end, let us turn our attention to author, educator, and Poet of Love Ms. Mwikali Words for 5 reasons why Love – despite its ever-allusive definition – has continued to be a blessing to us all.
1. Love makes the mundane magical.
“He’s excited about eating with me./Tasting…at the same time./He’s excited about lunch or dinner or whatever else./Says, he’s never supped with someone like the way he/wants to/with me.”
– “The Simple Things”
Love has a way of bringing unimaginable thrills to even the most routine and thoughtless habits of the day. When Love is at the table, dinner becomes a monument. When Love is on the menu, whatever else you are having is the most delectable dish you have ever consumed. Love has the power to provide a rush to any routine. With Love, suddenly a dining experience is no longer just a dining experience, a walk through a park is no longer just a stroll under the sun, and a hug is no longer just an embrace between two people. Love is that transformative ingredient, that magical matter.
2. Love reconnects you with your excitements, including your own vulnerable Self.
“You have me listening to music again/I turn off the blue tube/listen to Coltrane in the nude/I snap my fingers/and stretch my legs/I think…I think…I think…/I’m rising for you”
– “You Have Me Listening to Music Again”
Love reignites your passion for all the idiosyncrasies that shape you. For some reason, when you’re in Love, the bass in your favorite song booms harder than it ever did before. The jokes on your favorite re-run television show – the jokes you already know are coming and can repeat along with the actors – are astronomically funnier when you’re watching with your favorite person. Love even pushes you to reexamine and reconnect with parts of you that you’ve been overlooking – the vulnerable parts, the parts of you that gave you apprehension. You now have a reinvigorated appreciation for those parts – a freedom from fear about them, because you know that there is someone who finds those parts beautiful.
3. Love encourages you to be better.
“He makes me want to be a better person/Makes me want to be this Wonderful that he keeps/calling me”
Love encourages you to want more for and from Self. The reason is two-fold. First, Love from someone you admire triggers introspection: “What about me works for this person? Why me? What does he/she see that sparks this adoration? Whatever it is, it must be amazing, right? So, let me grow and magnify it!”
The second reason Love encourages you to be better is it reminds you that your presence and your gifts are worth something to someone. Who doesn’t yearn to feel needed? Who doesn’t yearn to feel necessary? Who doesn’t desire to fulfill a function in the lives of Loved ones and in the lives of the greater world? Love reminds you of what you have to offer the world. And, how else are we defined than by what we offer the world? Love reaffirms a sense of purpose, and once you have recognized (or re-recognized) that purpose, the only natural and logical response is to strengthen the parts of the purpose; hence, the work to become a better person as a result of the special Love shown.
4. Love makes you a selfless giver.
“After much debate with myself,/I tell you,/I love you./Whether you feel you need it or not/it’s there./Persistent./Mixing with oxygen and clouds/whether you breathe it in or not/It’s like handprints and scribbled nicknames/and declarations of crush in wet concrete/Dried now and permanent./Whether you need it or not, it’s there.”
– “It’s There”
The ever-giving spirit of Love can be visually characterized by that infamous Oprah Winfrey meme where she is excitedly giving away cars to everyone in the audience, open-armed and full of joy. Love encourages you to give – without condition, without expectation, and without censorship. Maybe it’s because the state of Love feels like there is something within you bursting at the seams and the only way to exorcise this bubbling is to unpack, to give away and to serve pieces of that Love to everyone else around. Maybe it’s because when you have Love, all other assets are minimized, or placed in a proper perspective that allows you to part with them. Or, maybe it’s because you want to replicate, even if unsuccessfully, your joy in those you decide to give to.
Either way, Love makes you want to spread, produce, and leave happiness wherever you go. Quite possibly because, with Love, what else do you really need?
5. Love will always leave you with a story to tell.
“May I always have love/even if it doesn’t last/ May I always fall into some love…some remnants, some staying memories…Even when it’s just been my imagination all along./I’m always left with words. I’m always left with all the colors of the love/I’m always left with something to paint my pages with.”
Naturally, like every other tangible or non-tangible item of the world, Love does not offer perennial promises. It offers no guarantees about forever. And frankly, it does not have to, and this does not take away from Love’s supremacy. What you can rest assured about though, is that Love will always provide you with opportunity to reflect, reason to reexamine, and an ink-covered page (or pages) about what it means to live and feel Love. This means that Love will always provide you with a story to share, a tale that can impact, inspire, or even warn. Regardless, Love comes with the addition of chapters to our life stories that are colorful, exciting, and unexpected, and what other descriptors are there for a story worth reading?
The selection of poems and excerpts above come from Ms. Mwikali Words’ latest collection of poetry Love: Discovery, Recovery, and Relapse. You can find this amazing collection on Amazon.com and other outlets.