A few poems from the infinite set of similes

that approximate the varied ways we love.




Ways That We Love



Poems and Graphics


Jim Michie






























A deep bow to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who inspired me to offer my own perspective, and to Sir Winston Churchill, for a clever turn of phrase.








Copyright 2005 by James C. Michie




Published by

Door Into Summer Press

Waves, North Carolina, USA










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A rush of emotion

   leaving reason to catch you

   if it can

Tunneling through happenstance

   in a rush for fulfillment



A meshing of the intellect

   grappling with life’s vagaries

   when it can

Forging a Damascene

   to cleave the apathy of self



Wrapping the mystery of Eros

   in the enigma of agape

    is to solve the riddle of life

























































Like the lapping whorl of a rose's petals

Spooning to each other

      at the center of their existence

But more on their own

      as they reach further out

      into the world around them


Holding tight

      the fragrance of their closeness

Folding bright

      the texture of their oneness

Alone together










































Like fog

Swirling above

      hiding the far shore

Swirling within

      hiding your self


Clammy cold calling up contrast

      to the steam of flesh

When fog is gone

      and two minds mesh

When your skin has the tingle of sunshine

      but the light is only sparks in the night


But the light is real




      without dissipation

Too intense

      without joy









































Like binary stars

Locked in joyful dance


Each with our own attraction

      held at bay by our speed

Each with our own spectrum

      bathing in the other’s light


Seen out of phase as two distinct entities

Seen in phase as a bright unity


Sharing the warmth

Sharing the light









































Like frost in the night

Falling fallow on the fender of my Ford

Creating icy traceries of lace

      in patterns of desire


Melding with morning’s warmth

Giving up its crystal edginess

      to beaded dew

      and not sublime


Standing erect

      on the wax of anticipation

Only to vanish

      in the morning sun









































Like moths

In a controlled flutter

      flirting with the flame

      feeling its brightness

      fondling its warmth

Getting close enough

      to suck in its radiance

      to feed on its energy

Staying far enough away

      to fly another night

And again

And again

Until sputtering

And the “dying of the light”










































Like a Brancusi

      fitting the folds of essence

With no excess

      but fullness

With no color

      but a rainbow of shades

Where the obliqueness of your view

      only shows another mystery of simplicity

Where the silence of form











































Like the frost with morning’s sparkle

      softly fallen in the night

Glazing over crystal whitely

      muting contrast

      gauzing sight


So you coat me feather lightly

Making proof against the storms

      that I must face for self allusion

Inner proof that I am mine


Standing hoary

Shining brightly

Only seen with care so fine

      that gray goes with


I become

      the form












































Like a Wagnerian overture

Sometimes kindling

      the coming flames

Sometimes leaping

      for the heart

A fanfare of passion

      submerging the self

      cresting the we

Senses flooding in thematic grandeur

      of things to come

Ebbing in leitmotif

      of glories past

Ending in wonder

      it is only beginning










































Like ruts in a back-country road

Travel worn

Euclidean ruled


Twinned through verdant pastures

Carving through sun and shade tunnels


Climbing the highs

Traversing the lows


Slippery through the mud

Crunchy through the gravel

Invisible on the hard surfaces

But getting there together










































Like wind in the sails

      first filling

      then fluttering


To hang limp

      in the sun

To make shifting shadows

      on the deck


Only to billow out again

      when pulling for a mark

Running before the freshness of the afternoon

      while straining for the evening stillness


When laying crumpled feels right

      while waiting for the morning

 and the first stirring against the gentle swell










































Like a glacier

Seemingly uniform at a distance

But with infinite texture in close-up


With surface shards and holes

      of past distress

Deep crevasses cutting to its heart

      but revealing the blue glow

      of its natural purity

Suffering only briefly

      the slings and arrows of cosmic impurities

      gradually expunged to its surface


Its progress measured

      in tortoise-like speed

Its power measured

      in megalithic wake


Flowing to reformation

      a metamorphosis to a new environment

      a melting of its self

      a melding with a new reality












































Like snow falling in the pines

A growing contrast of softness

      against a thrusting regality of trunks

Mostly soft

      patiently building

      to slide off bending limbs



Tremoring through the heart

      to start the beauty of buildup



Except wet snows

      building and bending

      bowing heads

      bending trunks


Refusing to relent their smothering growth

Breaking their host

Grinding into the ground

Smothering the beauty of contrast

      in uninterrupted white














































Like a loon’s call on an evening lake



Pitched and modulated to resist attenuation

      no matter the barriers raised by nature

      no matter the artificial intrusions of environment

      no matter the separation enforced by fate


Always an answer

      whether near or far

Not just an echo

      but an answering call

Just as sharp

Just as clear










































Like moonlight across a lake

Floating brightly

      somber dark

Fleeting quickly

      ripple to wavelet


Forming again



      but not illusory


      but real


All bathed in a soft glow

Intense when reflected

      in the looker’s eyes

Easy to cup

Impossible to grasp










































Like apple pie and ice cream





Ice cream




Complimenting contrasts

      focusing the senses

Concatenating extremes

      heightening awareness

Coming together

      making a new entity

Remaining apart

      preserving essence

Leaving residues

      soaked in the crusts










































Like a cavern in the night

      double depth

      double deep

Folded darkly

      in our sleep

Poised to rise

      with contact’s flight


Blending warmly

      languid haste

Silently sliding

      softened taste


Finding all that couldn’t might

Knowing more in morning’s light

Focused sharply feeling’s sight

Wanting heart constricting tight

      to squeeze the now

      to climb the height      










































Like boxers

Confined by imagined boundaries

      of fear

Bobbing and weaving

      through decisions of commitment

Jabbing and punching the soft spots of ego

      in flurries of uncertainty

Shuffle stepping

      into reluctant agreement

Spending most of your time

      in the clinch










































Like a thorny thistle

Straining its summer shell

Slowly forming beneath its bloom


      to repulse and repel


      until it can contain no more


      to throw its softness

      across the time

When two stalks

      in the spring winds











































Like the earth behind the plow

Folding in the weathered stale

Churning up the new

      the now

A scent of freshening

      moving pale

      in the half-light

Knowing how

      to make the turned stones

      fall fallow

In seeding new

      to find the trust in furrowed life

That brings new growth

That contours life










































Like an Arp

      with its billows of emotion

Pushing against

      space that confines it

Flowing over

      would be constraints of form


Seeking its own shape

      by alienating its environment

Moving only to its own meter


With no real starting point

Certainly having no real end










































Like boxcars on a siding

Solitary in their stolid stance

      but quick to couple when nuzzled or bumped


Starting slowly with the inertia of patient waiting

      but moving up in tempo with squeaks and groans

Taking on an omniscient view

      that sees the landscape as moving



      wheezy rattle of wheels

      a more tolerable pace

      rolling onto a siding











































Like a Prokofiev ballet

Opening in with ominous portent

      but riding out in blazing joy

Sliding softly to somber silence

      but exploding in colors of delight



      from frenzied cacophony

Two weaving voices


      each other


      to find a fit


      to satiate


      until they fade










































Like a Calder

Floating in delicate response

      to the slightest touch

      to a breath of air

Each appendage moving independently

      creating angles of excitement

Each view




      Kinetically changing

Restless in its frictioned struggle




A touch

A breath










































Like peanut butter and jelly

      clinging to the hacked-up loaf of life

Each on its own slice

      anticipating closure

Mingling flavors that are old

Becoming a flavor that is new


To be washed down

      in a milk of grateful dependence

Best friends










































Like the structure of a snowflake


      geometry of form

Finding beauty

      simple in its complexity

      complete in its tracery


Holding tight to each building pattern

Becoming a whole

      seamless to eye

      silent to ear


Transforming the brilliance of its diffracted white

      to the liquid flow of its purity

 with a warming touch










































Like a sloop at anchor

      in the quiet morning’s gray

Your curves

      quietly afloat

Your pitching moves

      gone away


Your languid roll

      on tidal flood

A maelstrom swirling

      in my blood

Sucking down

 the flotsam of doubt










































Like ships

Meeting not by design

      but surely by fate

      within the earth’s curve

To sound together the same depths

To take together the same waves

To share reflections of the sun

To leave on the regular patterns of the ocean

      a unique melding of wakes

      as each moves to its own horizon

Beyond the earth’s curve










































Like a spring morning

When the chilly tingle

      of indrawn breath

Molds boundaries

      on the mind

Dew damp on bare arms

      bringing texture to your skin

Hair standing at attention


      through body and mind


      afternoon’s warmth

Clean-slating your thoughts

      in that moment

Starting fresh

      with the day’s promise

 and the night’s keeping










































Like an omelet

That starts with the breaking of eggs

Then draws from each life’s storage

A conversation of

      spicy meat - sliced

      mellow cheese - diced

      mushrooms - rinsed

      bright herbs - minced

Mellowed with wine

Finished closed












































Like a campfire

Starting in tinder slowly


Growing steadily larger


Sending flickering fingers to enmesh



Fiery tongues open the darkness

Casting in both shadow and light

Patterns never felt before

Pleading upward

Grabbing the night


Quivering against the enfolding void

Slipping down the radiant slope

Glowing in the still hot embers

  holding the warmth between them










































Like Brandy and Soda

Its pungent spirit

      cutting through emotional fog

      but turgid itself

Displaying the crispness

      of its basic essence

Harsh in solitude

      biting when alone

Finding a resonating match

      in life’s effervescence

Coloring the crystal clarity of naïveté

      with the amber sagacity of experience

A unity surpassing its parts

A reality with punch

      but resilience











































Like summer butterflies


Drawn by brazen display

      whorls of symmetry

      nodding flashes of color

      unfolding petals

Taking offered nectar

Seemingly in control


Seized by essences on the wind



      a matching form

      a matching fit

      a matching function

Fluttering effortlessly together

Scraping wing-scales in intellectual dance


Oblivious to distractions












































How do we love?


In the measureless multiplicity

      of the sum of one plus one

In the cosmic complexity

      of simultaneous sub-sets of selflessness

In the startling simplicity

      of giving


We can but explore the ways

We can but experience realities


We live

      to love

We must love

      to live





















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