"Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius."
Sir Edward Gibbon
You heard the man you love
talking to himself in the next room.
He didn't know you were listening.
You put your ear against the wall
but you couldn't catch the words,
only a kind of rumbling.
Was he angry? Was he swearing?
Or was it some kind of commentary
like a long obscure footnote on a page of poetry?
Or was he trying to find something he'd lost,
such as the car keys?
Then suddenly he began to sing.
You were startled
because this was a new thing,
but you didn't open the door, you didn't go in,
and he kept on singing, in his deep voice, off-key,
a purple-green monotone, dense and heathery.
He wasn't singing for you, or about you.
He had some other source of joy,
nothing to do with you at all—
he was an unknown man, singing in his own room, alone.
Why did you feel so hurt then, and so curious,
and also happy,
and also set free?
I was compelled to post this poem for its rarity in delicately capturing the essence of what keeps love alive, beings sufficient unto themselves able to love each other for having the same such admirable capacities the day they met and allowing them all the room they need miles on down the road.
Consider love. Presupposing free will in others is the requisite for falling in love. It is the existence of a discriminating awareness on the other end that is the source of any possible thrill, attraction, and respect.
——Daniel Rirdan, Ecovillage proposer (1966 - )