I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having wavered In these affections; never through shyness in the houses of the rich or in the presence of clergymen having denied these loves; Never when worked upon by cynics like chiropractors having grunted or clicked a vertebra to the discredit of these loves; Never when anxious to land a job having diminished them by a conniving smile; or when befuddled by drink Jeered at them through heartache or lazily fondled the fingers of their alert enemies; declare That I shall love you always. No matter what party is in power; No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied interests wins the war; Shall love you always.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Modern Declaration," from Collected Poems. Copyright 1931, 1934, 1939, © 1958 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Holly Peppe, Literary Executor, The Millay Society. www.millay.org.
One river gives
Its journey to the next.
We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me
What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made
Something greater from the difference.
Copyright © 2014 by Alberto Ríos. Used with permission of the author.