The Touch of a Lover


“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”  Plato

Ah, yes. I remember it well: an overflowing heart, mates tired and bored of one’s incessant rambling on about the creature one desires above all others; the impulse to turn to a book and record your devotion there because, hang it all, no one else will listen.

One would make oneself a willow cabin at the Beloved’s gate, and call upon their name within the house; write loyal cantons of contemnéd love, and sing them loud, even in the dead of night.

Or: if the Borough’s Health and Safety Team were out enforcing the silence and serenity of the neighbourhood, one would pull out a little green-bound book and scribble furiously to the winds: of love, and melancholy cloaks of gold and ships of dreams, half-dream, half nightmare.

For some reason, I have kept them all these years. Poems typed on rice- thin copy paper using a 1950s imperial typewriter: time-warped verse from a post-adolescent for whom words would be flowing for another 70 years, and so were cheap. 

I look back unimpressed to the narcissist who sat scribbling long after midnight into the little green book. It would be true to say I have not felt the need to write poetry for 25 years.

Until now.

When, coincidentally, I appear to be in love once more.

A Celtic man, Reader, because  I know you were dying to ask. A man who could -should he choose – simply write you into bed. With one hand behind his back, saved for other dexterous pursuits.

He weaves words like a master word weaver, suspending them in quiet evening air, whispering them, like divine moths, to flutter past your ear or brush your neck. He turns them swiftly and suddenly, dazzling you with surprise; never too many, never too few. He can rant and rail them with fiery eyes at the dead of night and lazy-coax them with a Saturday morning’s slow beginnings. Always measured, always perfectly selected.

A wordsmith’s wordsmith, He is.

So, it is strange that, in the light of all this, I stumbled on the little green book once again.  I was curious: would I love my words as I had once, I wondered, or now that regard for its subject had dessicated, would they too be mummified and lifeless?

I was largely disappointed on first read. I was about to throw the poems away, or burn them, or anything, really, to get them out of my hair. It is not pleasant to be reminded of one’s utter self-absorption.

But the Celt intervened. Using words better than I ever could he cajoled, and persuaded, and argued until I turned back into the silly twenty something who had written the blessed things in the first place.

And so that I might share with you, I have come back to them and found a few which, The Celt was quite correct, were worth the saving.

Stranger still, the lines of poetry are writing themselves again. Plato was right: at the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet, and my hand has begun to write like Oliver Stone’s Hand, unaided, independent, of its own volition.

You write?  It may be that your lover has been that for years, for decades.

But join me. Celebrate Plato’s words: pick up your pen and write of that creature who has so shaped your life that you can still gaze across the living room at them in very ordinary clothes and experience heart missing a beat. Write once again how they have moved the tectonic plates of your globe, and how the quality of their heart moves you still. Tell them what stands them apart from the rest of the Human race.

For at the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.




21 thoughts on “The Touch of a Lover

  1. Having tumbled into turbulent waters together, I think there might have been moments when — if matched with a different soul between waves — we would have drowned apart. Instead, I have laughter and the notion that we have drowned together and lived to tell the tale.

    And Kate? Yippee!

      1. How could I not share something so lovely? The world needs more loveliness. And I hope it’s okay to outrageously happy for you, because I am, from all the way over here in the world inside the screens 🙂

  2. Having come to care for you as a dear friend, I savor the rapture embedded within the paragraphs, the life interlacing sentences, and the passion firing each letter. A few months ago, I sat in your den, witnessed your tears, and helped you drown sorrows in Cheez-Its. Your pain wrecked me, for I well knew it.

    And I trusted, somewhere, a man was getting ready for you. His every experience molded him into the person who would worship you, challenge you, and reignite you. Every day, he gives you new ways to see. And those of us who care for you recognize renewed vision in the fire behind your eyes, the light within your smile, and the fervor with which you tackle everything today.

    Heartbreak helped me locate the missing pieces of my soul within a man who smiled and said hello. Life hurts us, and it heals us.

    If we let it.

    1. Thanks Nancy. I intend to….here we are in the heart of midwinter, approaching the solstice, and just looking at your Gravatar reminds me that somewhere in the world all is light and warm. Hope you are shaping up for a great Christmas.

  3. How beautiful and wonderful and just plain happy! I am so glad you shared your sweet story. I’ve cared about you for a long time now, Kate, and I need the people I care for to be truly at peace. You sound like a woman at peace. And my old poetry? Written in my teens and early twenties…I destroyed it some time ago. I just couldn’t imagine someone reading it after I am gone. You can trust me…none of it was any good. I’m smiling a very broad smile. ox

    1. It is the prerogative of every poet, Debra: and many a great writer has done the same. The one who comes to mind is Nikolai Gogol, who destroyed a whole book draft…oh, how I wish he had left it for me to read …..

  4. Oooooh my friend – so excited for you 😘 You deserve a life filled to overflowing with the only the very best & to be able to share it with someone who makes you smile is just the cats whiskers. I have my own little green book filled with scribblings & silly murmurings – it’s one of my most precious possessions – happy holidays xx

  5. Oh, how I loved reading this, Kate, and extend my joy at your newfound love across the big pond.
    I’ve occasionally pulled out little bits of old, faded words and my Antler Man, bless his heart, keeps my endearments. You have, however, actually hit a chord in me, for I have a little wooden object, sort of a frame with a door, that is begging for a few good words to go inside – a gift. At you lovely post, I just may pick up that pen . . .

  6. Hello Kate – what a beautiful, inspiring post. I’m sorry your heart has experienced such pain this year, but so very thankful for your courageous choice not to lock your heart away. Praying for continued healing and restoration for your broken heart (Isaiah 61:1-4). Thankful your joy is being restored! My thoughts this Christmas have been focused on “The thrill of hope, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn” and I shared it in song on my blog. This is my Christmas wish for you sweet lady, may you find hope as you listen and every day

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