© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
What do you mean
when you say the phrase,
“I love you,”
to another person?
How much power
do those words hold:
How much of a lifetime story do they tell,
of walking beside,
of holding up,
and being held up,
It seems that this three-word-phrase
is, in and of itself,
a sequence of novelettes,
a manifesto concerning life-for-the-long-haul.
The phrase itself is
a magnificent and heroic proclamation
that can become trite
if said without true intent.
To say, “I love you,”
is to hear, “I love you”—
by both speaker and the one spoken to.
What do we hear?
What is our hope in the hearing?
There are some for whom the phrase
is a meaningless way to achieve a goal.
It is a way to gain trust with no interest in any commitment
beyond one or two nights of intimacy.
These cannot uphold the fiction of love
for very long,
and their actions
do not act as a foundation for the words.
do not get a lot of practice saying the phrase
because of an inability
to offer any true commitment,
and they understand
that inherent in the phrase
is a commitment
of such enormous magnitude
that there will somehow
be a diminishing of self
in the speaking.
For others the tremendousness is just as great,
they see the phrase
as something that will make them
bigger and better
and more complete.
What do we mean,
how do we speak,
how do we hear,
how do we act out this powerful phrase?