Tu B’Av

Tu b’Av – A Day of Love

arise from your graves
tonight death is defeated
annihilation and loneliness banished
I’ve borrowed my sister’s white skirt
and left my feet bare for dancing in the fields
perhaps I’ll meet him on the road
or while gathering wood
the one destined for me
from a flood’s time before our births
how will I know him?
he shall fill my heart as full
as this moon above
he will speak to me of queens
and count me in their ranks

Today is Tu B’Av.  So call me a softy, but I’m a Spanish Lit major and I was reading up on this holiday and stumbled upon this poem, which I love and decided to share.  The poet is Jennifer Wallace and her other work can be found here.

To use those pesky SAT analogy constructions, I’ve always thought

 prose:indicative mood::poetry:subjunctive mood

…and man do  I love me some subjunctive.

I also love poetry; I love what it can express more primal-y  than just about any other verbal art, with the freedom to selectively follow the rules of grammar.  It’s empowering and liberating and vulernable.

My understanding is that Tu B’Av is becoming Israel’s equivalent of Valentine’s Hallmark-palooza.  My understanding is that it’s shifted meanings once or twice in the past, but I hope it doesn’t morph into America’s V-Day, corrupting the very sentiment this poem seems to capture: tender, hopeful, purposeful, spiritual, unconditional.  It’s like the epitome of new love.

It also inspired me to share some of my other favorites, the classics.

carry your heart with me – e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Love Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other waythan this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Poem IXV – Pablo Neruda

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.

I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.


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