The Wisdom of Others
Concerning Passion

"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things."

~~ Denis Diderot (1746)

"Without passion man is mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark."

~~ Henri Frederic Amiel (1856)


"Going South"

I stare out the streaky garden window,
peek past the philodendron I canít seem
to keep alive, the cactus I canít kill;
ask why those far-away city lights
always shimmer at night as if theyíre blinking,
glimmer as if theyíre winking Ė itís not
crucial, but it is something to discuss.

Your answer is a labyrinth Ė heat waves,
light waves, dispersion, refraction, distortion;
though Iím only half listening, I am surprised
at how your knowledge perverts my perceptions.

Youíd think two people who are clever enough
to debate Doppler and Steinbeck, Dadaism
and Debussy, Taoists and Diogenes would be equally
adept at the topic of love. Love isnít up
for discussion. Ardor isnít glimmering,

shimmering city lights. Passion is the airplane
that rushes through those city lights
and roars over my head. I donít need
to ask why it stays aloft because weíve discussed
aerodynamics before. What I need to know
is why itís going south. Youíll double-check
every schedule. Then youíll say itís going south
because thatís whatís on the flight plan.

© 2000 MJM



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