Letter to Ardor

This entry is part 49 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Perhaps you are right and this is the most
one could ever hope to distill from any moment,
the loveliness that puckers and flares

in such heady directions through half-
leafed-out trees— Scent escaping the white
lilacs’ quilled skirts of alabaster and eggshell,

the small fingerprint of a kiss you leave
on my lips each time you go. We’ll grow old
in the aftermath of the question, but not

its flicker. I’m the one who counts the cost of each
lingering: the stubborn dreams ignite, reckless,
despite their long habit of rootedness.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Landscape with CarillonLandscape, with Salt and Rain at Dawn →


4 Replies to “Letter to Ardor”

  1. Luisa, this is a beautiful poem. Thanks for stepping forth with these spontaneous pieces each day. I’ve read a number of them, and I like them.

  2. Rosemary, thanks for dropping a note here- and for your good words. Let me say I’m a fan of your work too; and it was great to be part of the Letters to the World project which you co-edited. Your book is on my list of things to purchase and read this summer!

  3. Counting from the Middle

    Oh, but maybe it’s you after all who’s right, to count
    the costs of lingering. I have grown white with blossom,
    wrinkled with lichen, confused with kisses that came
    after the peace was declared. And still the roots push deeper
    and the flare is brighter, and the copper-green pulls gold
    tighter to the finger. How to reckon now, with the end
    and the beginning both lost in the half-leaved trees?

  4. RETURN MAIL (After Letter to Ardor)

    “I an old man,/A dull head among windy spaces./…I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it/ Since what is kept must be adulterated?/ I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:/ How should I use them for your closer contact?—T.S. Eliot, Gerontion

    When I got your letter, it was past my hammock hour,
    and mellow from the longings I had the night before:
    you said we will grow old and the flares will flicker

    but not our stubborn dream, reckless, an ignited habit
    of holding on, a moribund troth of our semper fidelis
    that needs must break through a dotard, decrepit passion

    put to use only when desire overflows its bounden
    confines— unchecked memories of passion on the sand
    underneath overhanging bluffs, trysts at wayside inns.

    Perhaps, I will never really be able to take you back
    to that belfry of the carillonneur where we hummed
    our evening songs, brave songs, love songs. I am old.

    Shall I trudge those seashores and skip over waves
    with trouser bottoms rolled? Shall I steal those kisses
    for an eternal ingénue and say: O, ‘twas accidental?

    But like you, I still taste the brine on my tongue,
    the dark seas still haunt my lonely hammock hours,
    and your habit of rootedness is really a habit of shores

    that must always roll the waves back to the sea
    that takes back all the buried footprints, even love
    heart sketches (ran through by arrows) you drew.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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