how, not what to feel

(for M)

not just react
not only remember
not well restrained
nor simply trained
by repetition
superstition given
or attrition
with contrition bidden,
But feet and hands
to touch and stand
without a rush
nor afraid to blush
at novelty
or curiosity
to notice truly
must be travelled.
to sense
the soul
from confusion replete
must be unravelled.
passion’s sparks
mere seeds
cannot inflame
greenest leaves
cannot intensely burn
yet moments ripe
what then is felt
now feeling is to yearn
how then is felt
can be scarcely tamed
while from years
love’s wisdom
will be learned.

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..