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Do you recall the 1981 novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler? How about the 1989 film version, starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito? This dark comedy came to mind when Love and War was presented on the list of possibilities for the 2021 themes for Halfway Down the Stairs. I remember being horrified at the bitter lengths of control and one-upmanship this fictional couple displayed toward one another. Sadly, this narrative exists in many relationships where divorce is the outcome. If only our world were encircled in kinship; after all, this is what we hunger: love. At its best, love mirrors goodness, it honors and respects, it is a fair and equal exchange in the expression of trust, honesty, loyalty, inclusiveness, and communication. Having had firsthand experience in the devastation of divorce, I thought it appropriate to write about love. I’ve written a villanelle especially for our theme. “The Hum of Love” is an offering in the collective cadence, echo, and fragility of humanity’s heartbeat.

 

The Hum of Love

Love is the bridge between you and everything. —Rumi

 

I walk the bridge to hear the unheard things.
I step along the fragile chords of truth.
The hum of love relieves the tender stings. 

I feel the pain of those who wait for spring.
The unseen souls who lapse in leaden shoes.  
I walk the bridge to hear the unheard things.

Is strife an option when the wood thrush sings?
Expressive voices mend life’s pointless feuds.         
The hum of love relieves the tender stings.

I breathe the air where peace extends its wings.   
A flight of doves ascend in blue-sky hues.  
I walk the bridge to hear the unheard things.

When conflict calls convert its strident rings.
I see the nexus between clashing views.
The hum of love relieves the tender stings.

Below, a park avails a set of swings. 
Its span connects the candid hearts of youth. 
I walk the bridge to hear the unheard things.
The hum of love relieves the tender stings.

**

by Jeannie E. Roberts

**

June’s issue is a heartfelt and poignant one. The theme of Love and War inspired many submissions. We are grateful to our poets and writers. Please enjoy reading their varied contributions, all of which are rendered with excellence.

Lastly, we are thrilled to welcome Phillip Watts Brown to our editorial team! Phillip and I will share responsibilities as poetry readers and editors. He is a past contributor with copy-editing, writing instruction, and publication design experience. He holds an MFA in poetry at Oregon State University. We look forward to working with Phillip!

In light, love, and peace,

Jeannie

 


Jeannie E. Roberts is a poetry editor at Halfway Down the Stairs.

© 2021, Jeannie E. Roberts

One comment on “Editor’s note: LOVE & WAR

  1. I enjoyed the Villanelle, the references that the language offered up as if I were hearing it from that bridge.
    It was graceful, and the rhyme scheme did not overpower the content. Yay!

    Like

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