Reading the dense-but-lovely poetic prose of Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept and was taken by these couple pages about the torrent of love’s onset:
I was taunted so long. The meaning fluttered above my head, always out of reach. Now it has come to rest in me. It has pierced the very centre of the circle. I love, love love — , but he is also all things: the night, the resilient mornings, the tall poinsettias and hydrangeas, the lemon trees, the residential palms, the fruit and vegetables in gorgeous rows, the birds in the pepper-tree, the sun on the swimming pool.
There is no room for pity, of anything. In a bleeding heart I should find only exhilaration in the richness of the red.
Once I skulked wistfully through dim streets, aching after this unknown, hoping to pass by unnoticed in my drab dress and lopsided shoes with high heels, hoping, thus surreptitiously, to come upon it. But I was afraid, I was timid, and I did not believe, I hoped. I thought it would be like a bird in the hand, not a wild sea that treated me like flotsam.
But I have become a part of the earth: I am one of its waves flooding and leaping. I am the same tune now as the trees, hummingbirds, sky, fruits, vegetables in rows. I am all or any of these. I can metamorphose at will.
Do you need some joy or love? Are you sodden leaves in some foresaken yard? Are you deserted or cold or starved or paralysed or blind? Handfuls and handfuls for you, and to spare!
Make them up into bedsocks, teacosies, cushions against the cold, for their electricity is perpetual warmth, and can contaminate everything, and build at one touch a new and adorable world.
This is Today. This is where all roads strove to lead, all feet to attain. What are the world’s problems and sorrows and errors? I am as at sea, and as ignorant and mystified, as the first day I ever saw algebra.
There are no problems, no sorrows or errors: they join in the urging song that everything sings. This is the state of the angels, that spend their hours only singing the praises of the Lord. Just to lie savouring is enough life. Is enough.
Even in transient coffee-shops and hotels, or the gloom of taverns, the crooning of Bing Crosby out of a jukebox, and the bartender clanking glasses, achieve a perfect identity, a high round note of their own flavour, that makes me tearful with the gratitude of reception.
And merely his hand under those shabby tables, or guiding me across the stubble of the fields, makes my happiness as inexhaustible as the ocean, and as warm and comfortable as the womb.
When I saw a horde of cats gathering at a railway terminus to feed on a fish-head thrown near the tracks, I felt, It is the lavishness of my feelings that feeds even the waifs and strays. There are not too many bereaved or wounded but I can comfort them, and those 5,000,000 who never stop dragging their feet and bundles and babies with bloated bellies across Europe, are not too many or too benighted for me to say, Here’s a world of hope, I can spare a whole world for each and every one, like a rich lady dispensing bags of candy at a poor children’s Christmas feast.
I can compress the whole Mojave Desert into one word of inspiration, or call all America to obey my whim, like the waiter standing to take my order. I am delirious with power and invulnerability.
Take away what is supposed to be enviable: the silver brushes with my name, the long gown, the car, the hundred suitors, poise in a restaurant — I am still richer than the greediest heart could conceive, able to pour my overflowing benevolence over even the tight-mouthed look. Take everything I have, or anything the world could offer, I am still empress of a new-found land, that neither Columbus nor Cortez could have equalled, even in their instigating dream.
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm, for love is strong as death.
So… yeah. Love.