Poetry Thursday

Habitual Conversation

In the habit of long years
I turn to him and say
More coffee?
Remember your medication
Wear a warm coat
I love you

In the habit of long years
He replies
Yes, please
I will
Love you, too

In the habit of long years
Familiar words
Set each day in motion
Quiet whispers
Like the gentle tick
Of ancient clocks
Mark life
With simple phrases
Of unstated devotion
In the habit of long years

There is a definite shorthand in the conversations between people in long standing relationships, a pattern of speaking and response that devlops over days and years of repetition. The other morning, it struck me that Jim and I repeat a certain dialogue on a daily basis. At first, I felt dismayed at the banality of this revelation. However, I then realized that beneath the trite question-response, there was an unspoken dialogue of caring and concern based on deep understanding of the other’s needs, both practically and emotionally, an understanding that develops quite remarkably “in the habit of long years.”

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20 thoughts on “Poetry Thursday

  1. Beautiful, Becca. A wonderful representation of intimacy that comes from really knowing and understanding the other. Fantastic poem!

  2. After almost 26 years together, I can say the same thing- and it feels, oh so wonderful too…
    Just beautiful, Becca…

  3. When a relationship slips into this habit is when, it seems to me, the intimacy begins. I love the rythym of predictability, the long sweep of stability that marks a good relationship.

  4. There is so much truth to this poem. A very insightful look at how friends, spouses, even coworkers relate to one another based on longstanding interaction. And I agree that, while it looks superficial at a glance, there is so much history that supports the actual words–the love is there. Really wonderful, Becca.

  5. “Familiar words
    Set each day in motion
    Quiet whispers
    Like the gentle tick
    Of ancient clocks”

    Perfect. So true. And so reassuring.

  6. What wonderful comfort this poem brings me. I can only imagine that this is the dialogue between my parents most mornings.

  7. I LOVED this! It’s the little habits that make a loving marriage grand. You made me take inventory of my own 🙂 XXXXXXOOOO

  8. All of this is so smartly restrained, understated, from the short, definite lining, the crisp refrain, and the ordinary (in a good way) imagery.

  9. This is what is called love which transcends all other feelings. The broken, disjoint conversation is understood by both.

    Beautifully done…

  10. This poem really captures the intimacy shared by two people who have spent a lifetime together. Thanks for sharing.

  11. “Quiet whispers/Like the gentle tick/Of ancient clocks”–what a great simile, loved it! The whole poem was really lovely.

  12. you’re so right here, these kinds of exchanges are part of the vital glue in a long relationship.

  13. You’ve got it so right in this beautiful poem. my husband and I have been married 42 years in June. Sometimes, facial expressions take the place of words!! Thanks, Becca

  14. Becca… I LOVE THIS… my husband and I have been married for over sixteen years… and I feel this way about my beloved.

  15. Brilliant dear Becca! Like the gentle tick ~ Of ancient clocks … I love how this poem gently paints a picture of familiarity and intimacy. xx, JP

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