“I love pizza,” you say to me.
Do you really? Perhaps you like
The taste. I am sure you’re grateful
For it, because we have been at
This competition all day long
And we are now finally having
Lunch at three o’clock. But love? No.
Would you throw yourself in the path
Of an oncoming projectile
For the sake of your beloved pizza?
Would you reject every other
Food and devote yourself to
Pizza alone? Of course you wouldn’t.
You don’t love pizza any more
Than I really love these super
Comfy new shoes I am wearing.
That simply is not what love is.
Love is bravery, a sparrow
Battling a snake to save her clutch.
Love is joy, the reunion of friends
Held dear but long kept apart.
Love is sorrow, the mournful song
Of wolves burying their fallen comrade.
Love is peace, an anchor against
The strike of famine, war, and storm.
Love is fire, which would rather
Burn through suffering than grow cold.
Love is water, life-giving,
Love is saying “You are broken,
Flawed, and misguided. Sometimes
You reject me and insult me.
I think sometimes you hate me.
That’s alright. I still love you.
You may bruise me, whip me, nail me
To a tree hand and foot, and cheer
While you watch me bleed but I still
Love you and I am not going
To stop trying to save you.”
The Greeks called it agape—
Self-sacrificing love. In English,
We use the same word to describe
Our affection for our friends,
Families, books, socks, and pizza.
I’m guilty of this too, I know.
We all fall into hyperbole
From time to time. On occasion,
Though, we need to take a moment
To remember what love truly means.