PCC (January 9,1936 / Bronx, New York)

Salve Valeque

More than ever before
In my longish life
Have I felt
The bitter sweetness so much
Of loving a woman
With a selfless loving
Then I do this while
Of my last spring on earth perhaps.
The love of friendship
Is holy and chaste -
As the love of an angel.
Did not Dante and Beatrice
Prove it thus?
Yet I am not angelic,
And my heart hungers
For the warm, soft kiss
Of her mouth on mine
As a felt sign of love
This now
As I live and breathe
Still a man.
It is not intercourse I seek,
For I am past
That sacred gift of potency.
No,
I am an old celibate hermit
Living in the hollow of an ancient oak tree
Deep in a woods
Older than me,
And only looked
At her beauty and grace
From a distance
As she went on by me
Across the bridge
When I came to town.
She felt
The touch of my soul
On her cheek
And turned her face
Looking into my eyes.
We became one I tell you
In that seeing.
Oh, everything ceased that moment,
And only a superabundant joy
Flared up like fire –
An ecstasy
That knows nothing of time and space
But only
That which is the eternal fire
Of God’s own love and light and truth.
She walked away.
The flame became memory,
And I became
Old, old, old, old, old
Once more.
Salve valeque
Flagrans amor amicitiae.
Hi and bye
Oh flaming love of friendship!

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Comments (1)

I love this Paul! I love how your passion to be loved and feel loved still is so clearly shown. You seem to almost laugh at your age and yet express such beautiful love and tenderness. Wow, this really touched me. Great poem. Sincerely, Mary