Three Loves in One

We’ve gathered Love, but only insofar
As we have reaped a crop from seeds we’ve sown.
Those hours we cherished our beloved are
The most rewarding times we’ve ever known,
Which bears a certain similarity
To what occurs through strangers we behold:
Each freely-given act of charity
Repays the helping hand one hundred-fold.

Philosophers love wisdom more than knowledge
And prove it when they strive to know themselves
As thoroughly as facts they learned in college
From dusty books arrayed on crowded shelves.

Give love away to everyone you meet,
And let your heart thereby be made complete.


For What Ails You

When viral or bacterial
Infections strike and make us ill,
Our outlook’s less funereal
If we receive the proper pill

Or subcutaneous injection.
The medicines on hand today
Approach remedial perfection —
We’re fortunate, and who’s to say

Things won’t get better?  There are cures
For every kind of ache and pain
That no one willingly endures,
Correctives for a faulty brain,

And lotions to restore one’s hair
To what it was ten years ago.
A pharmacopoeia is there
To palliate distress and slow

The pace of physical decline,
And — barring sheer myopia —
It’s clear such remedies define
A medical utopia.

The studies, all empirical,
Show ways to make a body whole,
But still it takes a miracle
To heal sclerosis of the soul.

First published in Chronicles, January 2018


C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.

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7 Responses

  1. Michael Dashiell

    Two excellent poems. You’re about right about philosophers: they prefer the brilliance of ideas over mundane scientific fact. As for the second poem, wow a pharaceutical poem, original with seldom used multi-syllable rhymes.

  2. David Watt

    “Three Loves in One” sums up a universal truth, and does it with great form.
    The enjambment in “For What Ails You” links stanzas most effectively.

  3. Joe Tessitore

    Beautiful work, and two of the most beautiful lines ever written:

    Give love away to everyone
    you meet,
    And let your heart thereby
    be made complete.

  4. James A. Tweedie

    “Trust thyself; to thine own self be true. The heart vibrates to this iron string.”


    “Love your neighbor as yourself . . . Do unto others as you would have them do unto you . . . Love one another as I have loved you.”

    Both/And? Either/Or?

    I’ll choose curtain #2 every time. Well done and well said, C.B.

  5. C.B. Anderson

    I thank you all for your comments. I still have a problem with “Three Loves in One” I don’t think I connected “agape,” “eros” & “philos” well enough. I’m not sure they should be connected, but I’ve always found it strange that in English we have only one word for “love,” while the Greeks had three words, presumably for three separate concepts. If anyone can explain why “agape” usually is rendered “charity,” then please let me know. Perhaps Dr. Salemi can lend a mind here.


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