Monday, April 28, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Love is not Love by Jennifer Compton

Love is not Love

It was never love. Not love. It was
what the Italians call the thunderbolt.

We stared. We exchanged eyes. It
was easy. Not what we might have

wanted. Not what we had planned.
Many things were snatched away

like thistledown in the high and gusty
winds of our home town. Many things

arrived like the burden of a new language.
As if the kaleidoscope had been given a

vigorous shake and fallen into a new pattern.
And then broken. We shuddered, and woke.

I saw fear in his eyes, but we stepped forward,
we took hands, just like lovers do, the ceremony

wound up with the pragmatic certainty of a dream.
The children stirred and knew it was nearly time.

The words we said shook us to the bone. Who knew
that words could be so precise, that we would mean

exactly what we said? Or that we would misunderstand
so much. Be lost forever, and yet, suddenly, be home.

The man and woman staring past each other in the street.
Angry and miserable, while sharing the exact same thought.

We were given the years, then they were taken from us.
We arched an eyebrow each, the windward side of bitter.

Like two trees growing too close together to be separated
root and branch entangled – until one of us should die –

we could not grow closer to each other but grew away,
flourishing on the far side. If it was like music it was like

the music at the concert - do you remember? – where
we found ourselves without design, and the high, clear

pulse of your thought examining the invisible vibration
became all of the music for me. With you, I am alone. 

 I read this older poem (from Barefoot, Picaro Press) last week at the 
Contraverse reading that ReVerse Butcher runs in Fitzroy, and it seemed
to go down quite well. So as I have been very behind in my reading of
Other Poets' Work, I lazily bang this one up. I like the Contraverse
readings in Hares & Hyenas Bookshop, great atmosphere, interesting
crowd, and when they have a feature like Kevin Brophy it's something 
you really don't want to miss.  


  1. Have always loved this one of yours Jennifer, thanks so much for sharing !

  2. For me this poem is full of wisdom and compassion and if may I say so... 'love'