Proof of Love




Detail of photo by Philipp Sewing on Unsplash

There are myriad ways
to display true love;
a simple kiss, a blooming rose,
a bashful smile, a frilly note.

I appreciate
you raised me from the floor
to staunch the flow of blood, but
it is inappropriate
to coo like a solicitous dove, as if
the punch which broke my nose
was in any way
proof of your affection.

©Jane Paterson Basil

30 thoughts on “Proof of Love

  1. Powerful and just too real. I hope it will not upset you that I have just quoted your poem on my blog, in a comment. If you have a minute, check it out. This is not an underhanded way to get you to follow, it’s not how I work and for all I know you may be following my blog. The post in question is

    – just scroll to the end, to the last comment made by myself. Thanks.

    1. Thank you, Sha’Tara. It would have been pointless to simply read the comment without reading everything that led up to it, so I started at the top. Although I have trouble concentrating on electronic text these days, your post held my attention. You paint a clear picture of compassion. We’ve briefly discussed the subject before, but this post, and the comments beneath it, clarify any questions I might have had. To love is easy, but to give your life over to compassion is, initially, a brave choice to make; when you embarked on your journey you could surely not have known what the benefits would be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your observations. It is correct: when one embarks on such a journey there is no way to judge any outcome. That compassion would be so “good” to live with, so powerful and healing, that was a well-kept secret. To be honest however, I had been rescued from a suicide attempt and healed of a crippling physical condition so any other choice after that would have been less dark than where I had been. Still it took me another 15 years before I clued in that what I needed to do was become an avatar of compassion. You see, my Healers/Teachers never told me to choose compassion as a life purpose, all they said was, ‘Choose wisely.’ I think I did that. Certainly I never had any regrets.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s interesting that you’ve just answered another question I wanted to ask: did someone lead you onto your path? It’s as I expected; you found your way alone.

        You might have reacted differently if your teachers had recommended a life of pure compassion 15 years earlier. You had less experience of life, and perhaps the residue of a desire to love and be loved was still clinging to you. There might have been a few aspects of life you wouldn’t have wanted to give up, such as ego and comfort (as you knew it then). Again, you had no way of knowing the benefits. Also, had you known the benefits, you would have been doing it for yourself, which puts a different angle on it.

        I’m glad I bumped into you again. I think I misunderstood you before; I suspected you of arrogance, but it’s now clear to me that I couldn’t have been more wrong. You are driven by certainty, and a burning desire to share your message.

        Bravo, Sha’ Tara. Respect to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Been there, and have the broken nose to prove it. Funny, but I twistedly learned to equate savagery with love.. Needless to say, I took myself out of the dating pool immediately upon that discovery….

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Then we have something in common, Violet. I took myself out of the dating after realizing how awful my judgement of people is within the context of a sexual relationship. Thankfully, I’m happier this way.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Is it OK to ask how old you were at that point?

      People can mean such different things when they talk about love. I was lucky; by the time someone started using me for their experiments on violence I had known a rare kind of love.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, Jane, not even I can feign aloof indifference to your wit in this one. Damnable, that. But still I can’t. This poem’s got the perfect twist.

    I once came close to such a poem. But my execution was wholly less graceful than yours. So much clumsier. Still the concept was a good one. Tomoko billing me for the love she spent on me. Tomoko burning my poems in our bathtub one winter (it really happened). Me asking if I can get a discount on her love bill for the heating costs she saved on by burning my poem.

    I wish I could of pulled that one off — but never could find the right words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe you needed more time to pass. They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. I’ve found the same to be true of poetry. Over 45 years have passed since the horrible events that inspired this poem. The memories no longer hurt or even anger me.


      1. You and me both.

        I was just curious. I thought that maybe, at the age of, say, 20, you’d chosen a life of celibacy.

        I know quite a few women who stay in miserable relationships, or they switch from one man to another always looking for the perfect one, when if they just tried it, they’d probably discover they are better on their own.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve long been deeply curious why so many women I’ve known have preferred an abusive man to being on their own. The nearest I’ve ever figured it out is that it’s fear. Mindless fear of being lonely. But loneliness is not the same as being alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sometimes it’s not about preferring to be with an abusive man. Abuse can diminish a person to the point where they have no fight left; to the point where they are no longer sure who they are.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. No. At that age I was still telling prospective partners, “if you can’t kik my ads, we’re gonna have problems.” Literally. I was smacked around by my stepfather and he and my mom were passionately in love all the years I lived in their home.

    Liked by 1 person

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