I Have Loved You All Along

for Linda

I have loved you all along;
No matter what was error,
Or what was done imperfectly
Through weakness, worry, plainly wrong:
I have loved you all along.

I have loved you all along,
As birds sing every day,
Or suns arc tremendous skies;
Like heroes, every action’s strong:
I have loved you all along.

I have loved you all along:
There is a death coming,
A river dividing flesh from flesh—
Whatever—still—to you I belong.
I have loved you all along.

First published in Inside the Whale.



James Sale has had over 50 books published, most recently, “Mapping Motivation for Top Performing Teams” (Routledge, 2021). He has been nominated by The Hong Kong Review for the 2022 Pushcart Prize for poetry, has won first prize in The Society of Classical Poets 2017 annual competition, and performed in New York in 2019. He is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times. His most recent poetry collection is “StairWell.” For more information about the author, and about his Dante project, visit https://englishcantos.home.blog. To subscribe to his brief, free and monthly poetry newsletter, contact him at James@motivationalmaps.com

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12 Responses

  1. Roy Eugene Peterson

    That has the makings of a wonderful song. Such a precious tribute to one you obviously loved!

    • James Sale

      Your appreciation is always appreciated Roy – thanks. One small thing though: a question of tense! Love, not loved: don’t let Mrs Sale find you committing this error or she’ll have to exercise her awesome Tai Chi skills on you!

  2. Michael Pietrack

    Linda is easy to love. You, on the other hand, are the likely culprit in stanza one. Kidding aside, very nice poem, and it reminds me of Proverbs 5:18. A wiser reminder on how to view our precious marriage mates.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    This is a truly beautiful poem, with both simplicity and great depth of feeling. It touches upon death, but also conquers it.

  4. ABB

    A lovely tribute to your wife, James. I like how you dismiss the prospect of death with “whatever.” I found myself wondering to which river of the afterlife you are referring in the last stanza—Styx, or perhaps Eunoe, where knowledge of good deeds are strengthened as one enters heaven—before realizing I was probably reading too much into it and it’s just a simple metaphor, which would accord with the more straightforward nature of the poem.

  5. Margaret Coats

    A good love song, James. It has just the length and amount of repetition for a popular piece, as Roy says. If you can manage some chords on a guitar or keyboard, I’m sure Linda would be charmed. But if I were the singer, I would say, “There is death a-coming.” You probably mean that one death carries flesh from flesh, which is true, but “a-coming” suits the rhythm as I read it, and goes along with your key word, “along.”

    • James Sale

      Thank you Margaret, but I think I will leave the song-writing to the song writers: who knows, one may want to take this poem on board. That would be fine. Regarding the metrical change you are suggesting, I see why you are saying it, but I would have to decline to make such a change. I love mimetic effects and this is an attempt at one. You may remember that the first line of Paradise Lost begins: Of man’s first disobedience and the fruit … In other words, the word ‘first’ has disobeyed the metrical pattern and a trochee rather than an iamb has occurred. Neat! So, to compare small things with great, my own line: There is a death coming, does not run smooth. It could, as you point out, run very smoothly iambic if we insert the word a-: There is a death a-coming. That is nice, BUT death isn’t, and so we start with the nice rising iambs till death comes, then abruptly – at death’s presence as a word – one falling trochee changes the mood. I think that is less smooth but far more powerful, but as always each reader must be his own judge. Thanks for such a thoughtful response.

  6. James Sale

    Ah! Andrew – those rivers, those rivers! Carry me over the Jordan! Probably, a simple metaphor! Glad you liked the poem.


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