A catastrophe struck Paul.
Paul punched it in the nose and landed several body blows.

The catastrophe slunk off to lick its wounds.
In its cave, the catastrophe meditated on its world-course.

A few days later, it sniffed at the mouth of its cave
to determine if Paul was anywhere about.

The catastrophe emerged from its cave
and went out to accost people who were not Paul.

Instead of striking people, the catastrophe
injected the words “I love you” into their stagnant mouths.

All of the affected people trembled
as if the earth shook below their feet,

the ocean rose to their spooked eyeballs,
and the sky fell upon their mystified heads.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The sad fact is that for much of America to utter the words “I love you” is too risky for the speaker to be done. And so many people are afraid to hear those words spoken to them.

I think it is a case of implied promise and commitment. Maybe many people are with someone who they do not truly love. Coasting through relationship is a sad thought.

As far as catastrophes go, so much of how they affect a person, is how that person chooses to react to what happened. Even in life and death cases.

The idea of earth, ocean and sky reactions to “I love you” came from an old tale about Alexander the Great’s first meeting with the Celtic tribes that lived north of Macedonia. The tale goes that a conference was set up before a battle between the Celtic King and Alexander. Alexander asks the question, “What are you afraid of?” with the expectation the Celtic king will say, “You Alexander.” Instead the Celtic king tells Alexander he is afraid of only three things, “That the earth may open and swallow me. That the ocean may rise up and drown me. That the sky may fall and crush me.” The Celtic king’s response has stuck with me over the years even though the rest of story has grown fuzzy in my memory.

Love & Light


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