But Never

I knew you well when we were kids;
We played down at the park —
And year on year, I’d hear you laugh
As day turned into dark —

I knew you as our hearts grew long,
Like evening shadows do —
But never did I speak of love,
Although I think

You knew

I was one of those boys who was constantly infatuated with one girl or another. The same was not true in reverse.

When I hit adolescence, the intensity of these crushes changed form, but the likelihood of them being reciprocated remained low. It’s not that it never happened, it was just… rare.

When it comes to matters of the heart, reciprocation is the only thing differentiating “very good” from “very bad”. For instance:

  • When you love forever someone who loves you, that’s loyalty, which is a very, very good thing. When you love forever someone who doesn’t return the feeling, that’s creeping, stalking or harassment, which are very, very bad things indeed.
  • When you send romantically- or sexually-tinged messages to someone who feels the same way about you, it’s exciting for both people, which can be a very, very good thing. When you send romantically- or sexually-tinged messages to someone who thinks you are gross and disgusting, it’s a singularly bad thing. Few things are worse.

Reciprocation was in short supply for me: I crushed away for years while no one crushed back. This was rather depressing at the time, but it turned into a gold mine now that I’m a poetry blogger.

Emotions are real, just about as real a thing as possible. And the fact that a person is young doesn’t make their feelings in some way less important. The fact that a person is old doesn’t, either.

It’s not our emotions that get us in trouble, it’s what we do with them. I never told Patricia at the park I thought she was perfect. But, at ages 9-10, I really felt it. I’m actually glad I never told her, because, I never ruined the feeling by giving her cause to scorn me.

And she would have.

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6 Thoughts to “But Never

  1. This reminds me of a song…going outta my head over you or something like that.
    Day and night, night and day and night.

  2. Patricia doesn’t know what she is missing 🙂 Unrequited love can be quite the fuel for poetic material. I am grateful for poetry as a means to take those emotions and express them in ways that can be familiar/appeal to others and get them to empathise, since they too would have experienced similar heartache and longing. It is refreshing to see you embrace the literary potential of your experiences. Even a situation that is one sided can give birth to a poetic aside that will be loved by others, turning your previously unrequited love into a thing of beauty to be cherished by an appreciative audience. Actually, I’m starting to wonder now if that’s why I became a poet too, you may have caused me to stumble across an uncomfortable truth within myself 😉 I still remain optimistic though, even in the face of the seemingly endless pursuit for true love 🙂

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