It can be seen that each expert
When, in the implementation of life
Designing life and death,
Is expert in his or her field.
Each part of this life tends to perpetuity.
In the house of the architect, for example,
Each step on the stair, each pristine window,
Each wall, bears its own load.
All elements are endurable,
And at low cost replaceable.
The plumber never
Calls on other plumbers.
The will of a certified lawyer
Each clause is manifest in its intent.
It is self-contained, and self-fulfilling
Like a prophecy.
Do you believe a car mechanic
Would not carry in her vehicle
The tools of reparation?
Do you not suppose that within minutes
She alone has converted her abilities
Those whose domain is chiefly love
Devoting their lives to its study, unreadable literature, harsh discipline,
Or the wild amateurs:
They cannot predict the breaking down, the lawyer’s death,
The devastation time wrecks on a house.
As such, in this undiscoverable field of expertise
Even the most passionate amateur
Is inexpert in eternity.
This is both a poem, of a modern design influenced by T. S. Eliot and many others, and a discourse on the notion of “being a lover.” It is a full-time job, if done correctly: an occupation, a vocation, and an end in itself. It is said that some work to live, and that some live to work: I believe that others live to love.
But unlike being an expert architect (whose own creation creates, through inchoate foreshadowing in this piece, a mausoleum for the unwary), an expert in love cannot make contingencies for disaster. When it strikes, it strikes mercilessly and without mitigation. An architect can make designs for life, for the process of decay and the inevitability of faults. Having loved before does nothing to prepare one for the event.