What Are You Looking For?

When I was younger, I met some people who had walked the Earth longer than I had.

“What are you looking for?” they asked.

“Love,” I said.

They laughed, and for a moment, I felt foolish.

Now I realise they misunderstood.

I wasn’t looking for love, the emotion, or love, the feeling. I was looking for real love, enduring love.

Love, the commitment.
Love, the obligation.
Love, the difficult conversations.

The love that whispers a humble “I’m sorry”.
The love that says “Let’s work this out”.
The love that shows me in every action: “I choose us”.

“What are you looking for?” I asked myself today.

“Love.”

To the Lonely Child I Met Today

My dear child,

I see you. I see your pain. When you were young and didn’t yet understand the world, you met a tsunami. It swept you up in its great strength and tossed your young body over and under, side to side.

You screamed. You screamed till your lungs gave out.

“Somebody help me!”

But it was like the world went deaf. Or maybe the screams were only in your head. Nobody came.

Eventually, the tsunami subsided and you found yourself on solid ground once more. Battered and bruised, but still breathing.

You looked around and saw people everywhere—people rushing to help other people, people tending to other people—but it seemed no one came for you.

That’s when the belief took root: “I am all alone. No one loves me, that is why I am all alone. I can only depend on me to survive the storm.”

My dear. My precious darling.

We all walk our paths alone, but it does not mean that you are unloved, or that you have to face the storms alone. Not everyone can be there for you, but there are people who can and want to be there, if only you will allow them to. Not everyone can love you in the way you want them to, but it does not mean you are not loved.

Do you remember the man with the broken boat, how he tried to reach for you, even as the tsunami swept you by?

Do you recall the girl with the injured leg, how she hobbled over and sat by you as you recouped after the storm?

You, sweetheart, are so, so loved.

Love comes in as many forms as there are stars in the sky. If we only see with our eyes, the sky will remain dark to us. But if we open our hearts, we make space for miracles to happen. Allow the love that is already in you and around you hold you gently and embrace you tenderly. You are not alone, and you do not have to be.

Because you, beloved, are so, so loved.

The Heart that Grew a Shell

When I was young, my heart was soft and open
It knew not the dangers of this world
To friends, family, strangers alike—
It gave wholly of itself

It believed that if you love with all you are,
If your sincerity touched the depths of your soul,
So too will others feel it,
So too will they cherish it,
Like a precious gem that few behold

The heart soon learnt that
Though the world was filled with people with good intentions,
Good intentions still wound an open heart
So like most other hearts,
It grew a shell, a sanctuary for itself

For many years, the heart didn’t break,
Safely cocooned within its new home
Till one day it met another heart that was
Very much like its own

This heart seemed to appreciate
Like no other before—
The beauty of a soft and open heart

This heart seemed to understand
Like no other before—
The vulnerability of a soft and open heart

For this heart,
My heart broke its shell,
Trusting that this heart would cradle it with care—
Believing that in the right hands,
A soft and open heart can thrive

Now my heart lies bleeding,
Broken over and over,
Its pieces scattered across our sacred Earth

A safe heart does not live;
But there is a price to pay
To live as a soft and open heart
In a world that does not recognise
A soft and open heart

I Saw You The Other Day

I saw you the other day
In the vestiges of memory
As sunlight filtered through the leaves

I saw you yesterday
In the swans beside the river
As they frolicked among the reeds

I saw you tonight
In the violinist in the red dress
As she swayed to the beat

I’ll see you tomorrow I’m sure,
In the birds or in the trees;
In passing shadows or
Vivid dreams

Thus is the curse—
Or the salvation—
Of one who has loved and lost

Love Does Not Need A Reason

I loved her—
like a duckling loves a swan,
or like a leaf loves a tree

But I loved you—
like the moon loves a seashell
and the sun loves a flower

Neither the moon nor sun
aspires to be
a seashell or a flower

Neither the moon nor sun
will cease to be
without a seashell or a flower

But they loved
because they saw a seashell and a flower

Because the seashell and the flower just are

Poetry and Prose

I have always wondered how
curious speech is

The key to another world — nestled
between misshapen lips and arbitrary sounds

I practice daily, yet still
struggle to piece the parts together; to
breath life to the song of my heart

Only after years do I realise:
My heart speaks in poetry and prose