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Poem: "Always Like Itself" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Always Like Itself"
This poem came out of the February 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] sharpeningthebones. It also fills the "memory" square in my 2-1-14 card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored out of the general fund, based on an audience poll. It belongs to the series Tripping into the Future, which you can find via the Serial Poetry page.

"Always Like Itself"

There is not much to occupy your mind
except the memories you bring with you,
here on this new planet,
now in this new time.

There are seasons, you learn,
and you strive to give them meaning,
but so little is left to you
that they slip through your fingers
like streams of sand.

So you turn and turn to your memories
where there is light and laughter
and the company of other people.

It is your fault that you are here now
while they are far away in time and space;
you did not cause their deaths
but you caused yourself to be
where their deaths are in your past.

Your path is as full of death
as an ocean is full of fish.

Yet the memories do not dim
and their sweetness never fades,
for all they burn your eyes like the sun
or cut your tongue like the last sliver of hard candy.

You ask yourself what it means,
and if love is the question,
then time's going to give you the answer.

You come to learn a thing
that you had been told
but never understood:

True love is eternal, infinite,
and always like itself.

It is the one thing in the universe
that even entropy cannot touch.

When you come to the bottom
of the deep black well of your grief,
love is there, warm and golden
as the favorite ball of a princess
dropped before a hapless frog.

You do not know what you will have to kiss
in order to get your life back, but
this story dwells in your memory
and you know that stories,
like love, can be

true more than once.

* * *


"True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart."
-- Honore de Balzac

The reference to the golden ball comes from the fairy tale "The Frog Prince," which you can read online. When people feel lost and lonely, they often turn to imagery from childhood for comfort.

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