131: I Loved You Before I Was Born

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

I'm US poet laureate. Tracy k Smith. And this is the slowdown. Sometimes I feel as if I've known the people I love for more than a lifetime, as if the history, we share predates us. Maybe that's the kind of magical thinking love invites a fantasy of past lives and lives yet to be lived that matches our wished to remain connected, always, but I hope it's more than fantasy. I hope there is such a thing as the sole and that it's in no hurry to do whatever work souls are born to do. That's my wish. But even if this life were living in the here, and now is the whole big picture. It feels good that language offers us words with which to imagine the never ending ords, like eternity, which invite me to imagine that we belong to a continuum long enough to match the infinite vast -ness of the universe itself, I will likely never succeed at imagining what eternity must look like, but the concept of it fits into language. And so I continue to try maybe the concept of eternity is an attempt to outsmart fear away of claiming in invincibility that defies the rigid. Terms of human mortality. Today's poem is, I loved you before I was born by leeann Lee, and it belongs to the Jon Rao of love poems, which reject the boundaries of life and death. Poems. That say to the reader, are you still hung up on mortality yet with the program? You're thinking too small. Don't you know love is bigger than that. Lease speaker extends the reach of his love to the time before birth. It's impossible, it defies logic. He says as much himself more than once in the poem and yet, on a certain level, it resonates with the deepest logic defying feelings that love itself insights. I loved you before I was born that language is capable of such feats is perhaps, one of the chief constellations of poetry. I loved you before I was born by Leong Li I loved you before I was born it doesn't make sense. I know I saw your eyes before I had is to see and I've lived longing for your every look ever since. That longing entered time as this body and the longing grew as this body waxed. And the longing grows as this body Wayne's that longing will outlive this body. I loved you before I was born it makes no sense. I know long before eternity. I caught a glimpse of your neck and shoulders your ankles and toes. And I've been lonely for you from that instant that loneliness appeared on earth as this body, and my share of time has been nothing but your name out running my ever saying at clearly your face fleeing my ever kissing. It firmly once on the mouth in longing. I am most myself. F- wrapped my lamp, mortal my light hidden and singing. I give you my blank heart. Please write on it. What you wish. The slowdown is a production of American public media in partnership with the library of congress and the poetry foundation. To get a poem delivered to you daily. Go to slow down show dot ORG and sign up for our newsletter.

Coming up next