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culture

“Resignation” by Nicki Giovanni

Resignation” is a truly beautiful poem by Nicki Giovanni. I once saw someone perform a part of this poem with such tenderness, natural intelligence and compassionate insight that I can (and must) say with complete sincerity – even though I do not fully understand what these words mean beyond the haunting feelings and sweet melancholy sorrows they invoke in me – that it resonated deeply in my soul like a liberty bell struck once and then left forever broken, much as my heart endlessly breaks ever since that experience. I repeat these moments in the lonely theatre of my mind, again and again like a movie of some gentle grace and impossible beauty drifting like soft mist among vine leaves or other slow-growing flowers. I hold these images, this voice and spirit so close in my mind, as though it is the pulsing warmth and blood that brings even the possibility of life or light and hope to my own heart.

Love is like this and this, perhaps, is more than just a semblance of love but being just such an unprovable truth as is peace or freedom, what could I ever say or do to convince anyone that something changed in me and that in this one simple, perfect microcosm of beauty I had reached out and just for a moment, just once, been touched by the infinite? Words fail me, but for fear of suffocation, I feel I must speak or write – with or without an audience. Nicki Giovanni says it better, so I should let her speak for me, at least until I find my voice again, even as it seems that I must now in some sense, love-struck and blinded, fall off this Earth and into another dimension.


Resignation” by Nicki Giovanni.

I love you
            because the Earth turns round the sun
            because the North wind blows north
                 sometimes
            because the Pope is Catholic
                 and most Rabbis Jewish
            because the winters flow into springs
                 and the air clears after a storm
            because only my love for you
                 despite the charms of gravity
                 keeps me from falling off this Earth
                 into another dimension
I love you
            because it is the natural order of things

I love you
            like the habit I picked up in college
                 of sleeping through lectures
                 or saying I’m sorry
                 when I get stopped for speeding
            because I drink a glass of water
                 in the morning
                 and chain-smoke cigarettes
                 all through the day
            because I take my coffee Black
                 and my milk with chocolate
            because you keep my feet warm
                 though my life a mess
I love you
            because I don’t want it
                 any other way

I am helpless
            in my love for you
It makes me so happy
            to hear you call my name
I am amazed you can resist
            locking me in an echo chamber
            where your voice reverberates
            through the four walls
            sending me into spasmatic ecstasy
I love you
            because it’s been so good
            for so long
            that if I didn’t love you
            I’d have to be born again
            and that is not a theological statement
I am pitiful in my love for you

The Dells tell me Love
            is so simple
            the thought though of you
            sends indescribably delicious multitudinous
            thrills throughout and through-in my body
I love you
            because no two snowflakes are alike
            and it is possible
            if you stand tippy-toe
            to walk between the raindrops
I love you
            because I am afraid of the dark
                 and can’t sleep in the light
            because I rub my eyes
                 when I wake up in the morning
                 and find you there
            because you with all your magic powers were
                 determined that
I should love you
            because there was nothing for you but that
I would love you

I love you
            because you made me
                 want to love you
            more than I love my privacy
                 my freedom          my commitments
                      and responsibilities
I love you ’cause I changed my life
            to love you
            because you saw me one Friday
                 afternoon and decided that I would
love you
I love you I love you I love you

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