Humanist Voices in Verse: “i love you”

This week’s poem comes just in time for Valentine’s Day from contributing editor Daniel Thomas Moran.

Moran is a retired dentist and Boston University Assistant Professor, former Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, New York and the author of seven collections of poetry. His seventh, A Shed for Wood is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. He lives in Webster, New Hampshire with his wife, Karen, where he has taken on the role of Unemployed Poet and Anecdotalist.

If you’d like to contribute original poetry to Humanist Voices in Verse, write to with “Poetry” in the subject line. Please send no more than three poems for consideration per week.

i love you

– to Karen

Since I dared say
those words for
the first time, to you,
they have hollowed,
useless as a goblet
after the wine is drunk.

My throat, my lips
no longer
form them well.
I have offered them
too many times
to the unworthy,
who begged them
of me and were gone.

I am a man
attempting feebly
to work words into
the figures of birds.
They have no life
beyond my wishes.

For you, the only one
who has mattered,
I’ve not the words,
nor the tools to
fashion them any longer.
Because of you,
the world will
never be the same.

I cannot say why,
still I know.

Instead, take my fingers
over your shoulder, as
we fall to our sleeping.
Take the darkness, how it
keeps us there, within it.
Take how this morning’s
light falls over our roof
and splashes over the trees.
Take all the colors.

We share time
and nourishment. We
mingle our breaths
and our dreaming. We
look to no past.

I love you is not enough.
Some things defy the naming.

Let me rest my head
on your shoulder and
rest yours on mine.
Take my glance, it
contains much more.
I have no words
more true, more tender
than what is found
in that vast silence.