what is love



Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love the moment and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries. Corita Kent

This week, we began a month celebrating love. We live in what has been called, at best, “interesting times.” We decided, as a counter measure and as support, to focus our month on love – celebrating it, discussing it, and exploring it through art and writing. We began this month with the writings of Pablo Neruda whose line in his Sonnet XVII “I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,” resonated with all of us. It may appear that a prison is a place where love does not go but it is even more important here than elsewhere. How can love be fostered behind prison walls? How can it reach in and reach out?

In the poems below, you will read the beginnings of these explorations by a group of writers delineating for themselves and on the page what it means to love and be loved.


Love should be unconditional and
straightforward. Love should be
honest and sincere. Love should be
a form of respect toward one
another. I feel love should be
wholesome and fulfilling. I don’t believe
objects should take the place of love.
When you are loved, you feel wanted
and need like your emotional well-being
is being met. When you have struggled
with getting the love that you have longed for
all your life, there is a void that comes
from within, an emptiness that is succumbed
by wants and desires that may be unhealthy
or have negative repercussions or consequences.
You become fueled by the desire to fill a thirst
or hunger that wants what the heart wants
because for a huge part of your life, you have felt
subdued by suppressive emotions, a huge part
of you has always felt like a black hole
of nothingness, a blob of unloving complicated
feelings of a sadness so deep, no one might ever
understand because your human self is so complex
and full of despair what do you do with this do
you try to bury it like it never happened – no embrace it
and make your voice heard because
we all deserve love.




The secret is born
and I’m torn.
Between pain and lust
but I want that trust.

Have you felt this way?
Love is hard to obey.
I can’t deny this feeling.
I won’t be deceiving.

The shadow of doubt.
I close my mouth.
I want to tell you this.
Don’t confuse me…

Please don’t refuse me.
For I…
O, my…
It’s hard to say;

but please stay,
we’ll find the way.
I know how to obey
the true love,
fitful heart, first kiss
with you I’m finally in peace.




You can’t have hate without love,
and either one can become you.
Hate will almost always consume you.
While love can only cage you.
You’re every part of me I love.
I’m every part of you I hate.
Loving you destroyed my world.
Loving you can’t be sedated.
I know that won’t do the trick.
I’ve tried it several times before.
It only made me sick,
and locked up behind closed doors.
So let everything go tonight,
and know that everything will be alright.
I’ve seen what only blind men see;
only love can set you free.




I used to think love was supposed to be magical and wonderful.
Mr. Perfect would come sweep me off my feet.
Then I grew up!!!
Actually had my heart ripped out of my chest and
thrown on the freezing cold ground.
Became an angry bitter person filled with resentment.
No longer believed in stupid fairy tale romances.
But as I went through my heartache from hell there was another being.
We had a strong friendship with a mental connection that broke cardinal rules.
We were both broken and dysfunctional people.
Together we’re a menace, but apart nothing but lonely.
Through time we tried to help mend each other’s broken hearts and minds.
Some would say we might have destroyed each other more.
While other might saw we saved ourselves from falling farther down.
At the end of the day…we may still be dysfunctional but together, we make one.


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