The Definition of Love
A Writing/Feeling Prompt to Open Your Heart
I know most people try hard to do good
and find out too late they should have tried
softer. I’ve never in my whole life
been level-headed, but the older I get,
the more level-hearted. And I think
we make gods who look like us
for a reason. I think in spite of it all
we trust we can be believed in.
When I don’t believe in myself, I try
to remember that I have walked on water
over 700 hundred times
in Maine in the dead of winter.
Where I come from, you can drive
a pick-up truck from side of the lake
to the other, and people have an unusually
high quantity of missing teeth and fingers
but you can still sell them wedding rings
and whitening strips like crazy, because
where I come from beauty is in the eye
of anyone who sees what’s missing
but can’t stop pointing to what’s still there.
If there is no definition of love yet,
I think that’s a good one.
Last week, Buddy moved in with me to help me through the harder months of chemo. Since he’s been here, I’ve not stopped thinking about this piece, specifically the definition of love. There are so many ways to define love, and all of them somehow come up short. Isn’t it wild that the most poetic parts of life can never fully be captured with words?
Both Buddy and I have performed with musician Gregory Alan Isakov a number of times over the years. One of our favorite songs of his is titled “Caves” and ends with the lyrics, “Let’s put all these words away.” Something beautiful happens when we put our words away. But there is also something precious in continuing to search for ways to define the undefinable.
Today I’m writing with a simple writing/feeling prompt: What is your definition of love? How has it changed throughout your life? How did you define it at ten years old? At twenty years old? If you live a long time–in the very last hour of your life, how do you imagine you will define it then?
None of this would be possible without people like you. Your support directly sponsors my ability to create art. Thank you for being here.
When I turned 40, I wrote down how I had personally defined love every year of my life. 40 definitions, each vastly different from the other. It was an amazing exercise into seeing how I had grown and changed throughout the years. And it was especially cool to imagine how I defined love at one and two years old. Try it out. And in the meantime– please enjoy this video of me sharing the poem with my squirrel friend. I’m pretty certain her definition of love is “Free Organic Pecans”.
Love, Andrea 🖤