Love poems suffer on the cross of fantasy. When we think of reading or writing one, the image of perfection, of blue mirrored eyes, of untouchable dolls on altars dominates us. Such perfection lies beyond human touch like God reaching out to a reluctant Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Such perfection lacks movement and when a body no longer moves, we, indeed, pronounce it dead. Is it any wonder love poems that have nothing with how we discover life fills us with mocking?
Such is the case of love poems that look to perfection beyond human life. Yet, God incarnate, the embodiment of love, empties out and becomes human to live with us. We find Jesus as we move around our lives. This divine act of breathing life back into love by dwelling holds the key to bring back life to love poems. I love my wife and my son, not out of my ideal of them, for ideals only exists in my mind, but in the reality of who they are as we live together. Everyday, I discover them anew.
Recently, my son was given a Make a Wish gift. We went on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Belize and Mexico. The below poem is a love poem to the revelation of love beyond my ideals. Love, like Jesus, will constantly surprise and is constantly on the go. Like a child at a poll, we are filled with simple wonder.
The Liberty of the Seas Cruises to the Known Points of the Unknown.
A ship, weighing thousands of tons,
cuts through the ocean with barely a sway.
Its Captain says the famous Titanic
was four times as smaller. Imagine.
There, within the middle of the boat, 40 feet
from sea level, my love helps our boy create
cupcakes with faces — a frog and a lions.
My son’s eyes, with faint expression
of my wife’s eyes, holds on intently to Marvin,
the baker from Manila, his instructor.
Sugar eyes, sugar tongue, sugar lion’s mane,
each piece of candy alive on the frosting
by the careful placing of a 3-year-old’s
hand. Below us, under the Ship’s metal,
are fish, craps and shrimp. Dolphins,
whales are around. My wife make sure our
son, soon to have a fourth birthday,
does not fall from his stool. A mother
and daughter from China decorate
by our son as I hold the camera. They come
together for a eternal memory of their love
that will evaporate into dust that God holds.
This moment will be gone thousands
years from now. It will never fade,
it, being eternal. Like the pride of a young
boy proudly holding his frog in one hand
and his lion in the other. Like the kind hands
belonging to his mother. Somehow,
this is all the reason I have to express
love for my wife, my son and God.
Beyond the pixels of a camera, a bit
of life broken off revealing the whole,
revealing truth, revealing life.