Love for Late Bloomers: Kissing the whole damn world.

{The lovers by Rene Magritte / Via}

{The lovers by Rene Magritte / Via}

“Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” ~ Dylan Thomas
I woke up in the middle of the night last night and realized that in the end, everything — every experience, every choice, every mistake — is about love.

There is nothing else.

There’s just love. It’s the only thing that’s real.

It’s the only thing that we can take with us when we die. We carry that love across the river of death. It seeds and blooms in our hearts as we are sent off into another life.

Those who risk it, reap the reward — even if it sometimes knocks us to our knees or mows us down — we are rewarded by exposing our most fragile and raw underbellies to the eyes of those we love.

We grow if our hearts are open. We grow if our hearts break. There’s nothing to be gained by waiting, by stalling, by thinking we still have time.


Terrified of every misstep or moment of gracelessness. We claim to believe in our inherent divinity — in the diamond chalice inside of our lives — but often feel unloved or unlovable.

What might happen if we reached across the table and took that person’s hand? What might happen if we believed we are worthy? What might happen if we treated love as our birthright instead of something we have to deserve or earn or find?


What if it’s constant? What if it’s always there? What if love cannot be lost, as Dylan Thomas writes?

What if every soul we ever offered ourselves to, carries us (and we them) in our DNA, marrow, bones?

I believe we contain fragments of stars, of the cosmos itself (the macrocosm and microcosm) within us. If what I suspect is true, how could something as integral as love not be part of that?

Today, I ponder life and death. I just heard that one of my brother’s dearest friends and mentors died this morning. In the face of such loss, it is easy to grow numb and psyche ourselves out of taking chances. But we can’t do that.

We must be metaphorical trapeze artists, learning to completely trust the process. Trust that we’re in good hands. Trust that the net is there and will catch us.

I marvel at how deeply I have loved the beings who have blessed my life.

Daddy. Shirley. Gina. Melissa. Mari. Granddaddy. Nana. My darling Clementine cat and Stanfield kitty. The furry sisters, Thelma & Louise. Mufti-cat. Our dog, Snowberry.

I remember them.

I count their names when I pray for the dead.

I remember the husk of their voices, the sound of their laughter, the feel of having them close.

I think about those who are no longer part of my life.

Old lovers.

Yes, Michael, Kirk, Bill, Robert. Even, Ted.

I think about what I learned and how I changed because I knew them. Only in hindsight is it truly clear how much they shaped the woman I’ve become.

I think about my mother and my twin nephews.

Love softens you as you get older. It makes you less afraid, less certain, more open.

I realize I am a late bloomer.

I am pulling up a chair just as some folks have finished eating their fill and headed for the exits.

That’s okay. I got here. 

And I am going to fill my plate.

I will be the loudest, most flamboyant, cobalt blue songbird you’ve ever seen. I will write my name on the board in yellow chalk and fill my purse and my pockets and my coat with everything I can carry. Love is on the table and I am taking it.

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” ~ Theodore Roethke

So, let’s hold hands and dance and shimmy more often. Let’s write long letters and worry less about whether the house is clean or the dishes are done. Let’s drink mimosas and watch the moon rise. Let’s walk the rim of the world and catch fireflies in jars.

Here’s the thing: None of us know how much time we have left at any given moment.

None of us.

Why not go balls to the wall, all out, with nothing held back? Why not kiss the whole damn world?




{How much time do we have?}




(Visited 43 times, 1 visits today)
The following two tabs change content below.
Shavawn M. Berry
Shavawn M. Berry’s work has appeared in The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Anjana Network, Be You Media Group, Journey of the Heart: Women's Spiritual Poetry, Olentangy Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Vagina - The Zine, Rebelle Society, The Cancer Poetry Project 2, Kinema Poetics, Kalliope, Poet Lore, Westview – A Journal of Western Oklahoma, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Concho River Review, North Atlantic Review, Synapse, Living Buddhism, Blue Mountain Arts/SPS, and Poetry Seattle. She's been writing about spiritual topics for more than twenty years, and has been a practicing Buddhist for the past 30 years. In addition to her blog and Rebelle Society, she regularly writes for Be You Media Group. Her technique essay on the dramatic monologue/persona poem is featured in a poetry database published in 2013 by Ebsco Publishing. In 1998, she received her MPW in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where she specialized in Creative Nonfiction and Memoir. Ms. Berry teaches writing at Arizona State University where she received a Lincoln Ethics Teaching Fellowship in 2013 and has been honored for curriculum design and innovative pedagogy. She is one of just two teachers at ASU involved with Prison Education and The Pen Project, a unique writing and editing internship that allows undergraduate students the opportunity to critique the writing of maximum security inmates in New Mexico and Arizona, while learning about the need for better educational opportunities for prisoners throughout the US. You can follow her on Facebook or read more of her work on her blog. Her website featuring a selection of her essays, blog postings, and prose is available at


  • SR Atchley
    SR Atchley commented on August 19, 2013 Reply
    What a great piece… you sing it loud and clear, you “cobalt blue songbird”, you! Love is all. Love is all.
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      shavawnb commented on August 20, 2013 Reply
      Thank you! I am so glad that what was in my heart touched yours.
  • sunnydecho commented on August 19, 2013 Reply
    Yes. This. All of it. Love. Always love. Thank you. :)
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      shavawnb commented on August 20, 2013 Reply
      :-) Thank you.
  • Melinda commented on August 19, 2013 Reply
    Thank you for the late bloomer comments. That’s me and I can always use the encouragement not to look back at wasted time, but to be reminded I can still live for today and all my tomorrows. Really beautifully written.
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      shavawnb commented on August 20, 2013 Reply
      All of us late bloomers should support each other! I appreciate your kind words.
  • Jenny Kowalczuk commented on August 19, 2013 Reply
    pass me the yellow chalk… inspirational, momentous, gorgeous, unctuous, melodic and dripping with sweet tears. Thank you xxx
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      shavawnb commented on August 20, 2013 Reply
      Thank you, Jenny. Yes! Sweet tears. :-)
  • kjlangton commented on August 20, 2013 Reply
    Wow. Wow.
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      shavawnb commented on August 20, 2013 Reply
      Thank you!
  • Ed commented on September 25, 2013 Reply
    This is one of the best pieces I’ve read in a while, and I enjoyed reading it again. Merci beaucoup!
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      shavawnb commented on September 25, 2013 Reply
      Thank you, Ed. :-)
  • D commented on September 25, 2013 Reply
    They say if you don’t marry by 30 your chances are slim. Haa I got married at 45 and 13 years later I am still married …My sister got married at 60 and one year in she seems happy as a lark. So I say to the world …go out there and seek.There is love out there just waiting for you!
  • D commented on September 25, 2013 Reply
    oops I am getting old I was 40 …anyway I want to say that I could not have said it better. Thanks so much for your poetic words!
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      shavawnb commented on September 25, 2013 Reply
      Thank you! I needed to remember this, this morning! LOL.
  • Ljubljana Lane commented on September 27, 2013 Reply
    Love, love love your articulation and the Truth you speak from your heart. Thanks for the reminder that Love is my birthright and it ALWAYS right here, in, and as me, and all whom I Love or have loved. Love always has it’s way with us, and leaves us with it’s remnants of sweetness, pain, and ‘more’ than we were before. And I noticed when done the piece that it was written on my birthday…a supremely fabulous day of Love <3
    • Shavawn M. Berry
      Shavawn M. Berry commented on October 4, 2013 Reply
      How wonderful, Ljubljana Lane! Love is the juice of life. Happy Birthday. ~ S
  • coachflora commented on June 21, 2014 Reply
    another great one, shannon. thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *