One Love

In all the world there’s but one Love, just one.
A single substance—like the billow lit
From overhead by flashes from the sun
And tears that rain upon a pillow—it
Is all the same, no matter state or form.
And even when, like ice, it lies there cold
And dormant, in a heartbeat it can warm
Once more to life, and every hope enfold.

Holistic holiness is Love’s prime trait.
The smallest part of it reflects the whole,
And all its benefit to those whose fate,
To find one mark of it upon the soul.

Go gather Love. One flicker of its fire
Reveals the vaster fundament entire.

First published in The Lyric


A Pity

Qui vit sans tabac n’est pas digne de vivre.


Each cigarette a faint regret,
the measure of an idle hour;
each drifting ash another cache
of promise that the days devour

in mounting senseless increments,
with nothing ventured to ensure
a good supply for years that lie
ahead. A plaintive moan seems more

than just a waste of time, if based
on troubles effort well can answer,
when it’s discovered that this love
for pity is a fatal cancer.

First published in Trinacria.



The Importance of Style

Though brevity may be the soul of wit,
Limpidity’s the test for serious
Ideas. Peerless thinkers don’t permit
Pretensions to intrude, or weary us

With turbid prose; instead they fashion apt
Expressions to illumine strands of thought
Their minds have spun, until the lines are mapped
So sharply that an average reader ought

To grasp the substance from the first. What’s true
Is truest in its most pellucid form,
For murk does less than patent falsehoods do
To turn our heads and keep our interest warm.

Without concinnity, the deepest word
Dies shallow on a sea it never stirred.

First published in Nassau Review



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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13 Responses

  1. Philip Keefe

    As someone who suffers from compulsive sonnet writing disorder may I say that I appreciated One Love but could not make sense of lines 11/12. Maybe I missed something, perhaps if there had been a colon at the end of 11. But I humbly offer the suggestion of “whose fate bestows one mark of it” in that place Philip

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Kip Anderson will have to confirm this, but I think that there is an ellipsed verb of being (“is”) at the end of line 11. If this is the case, then the basic sense of lines 11 and 12 is that the benefits are “to those whose fate IS to find one mark… etc.” An ellipsed verb of being is more common in Latin verse, but it does occur sometimes in traditional English poems as well.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Joseph, below, got it exactly right. The sentence without the ellipses would have read, “And all its benefit to those whose fate it is, to find one mark of it upon the soul. One’s fate does not bestow one mark of it, it is simply found, or not.

      • C.B. Anderson

        This went topsy-turvy. Joseph turned out to be above. Such is the logic of these response programs.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Yes, T.M., concinnity is a good thing, even if the spell-checker doesn’t recognize the word.

      • T. M.

        I’m just glad to know it refers to more than a city in Ohio.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    Lovely work in a pleasing variety of styles and forms; with pleasing surprises at every twist and turn, for example:

    A single substance—like the billow lit
    From overhead by flashes from the sun
    And tears that rain upon a pillow—it
    Is all the same . . .

    All so lovely. A pleasure to read and savor—and to ponder.

    • C.B. Anderson

      James, as it happens this was one of the very first poems of mine ever published in a respectable journal. The idea, of course (and I hope the idea was apparent in the poem itself) is that Love is not a collection of incidents throughout time an space, but an essential feature of the created universe. See, for example, the New Testament passage that begins, “For God so loved the world that he gave.” Or, in the Old Testament, “He saw it was good.” One day, while walking through the woods, it came to me that Love is like an energy field in physics, which permeates all of reality, whether we detect it or not.

      • James A. Tweedie

        C.B. Your poem was eloquently clear on that point, a point which can be supported by scripture in any number of ways, and one which I embrace. On a personal note, I have not been actively submitting poems to other venues but I recently received notice that my first submission to The Lyric was accepted. I find the affirmation both encouraging and motivating. After all, there is a great deal of good poetry being written . . . and some of it, like yours, is right here at SCP!

  3. James Sale

    Very powerful poetry: I like the way the syntax reflects a thinking-aloud style of deliberation which moves inexorably towards the goal of its philosophical resolution. This is limpid indeed, and the more powerful for it.

  4. David Watt

    I think you have demonstrated ‘the importance of style’ in all three poems. I particularly enjoyed the line: ‘Dies shallow on a sea it never stirred.’

    • C.B. Anderson

      Thanks for that, David Watt. One never knows how things will go over for a diverse audience. And of course, the last line of a sonnet must clinch SOMETHING!


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