In the begin­ning
Love is word­less
It is the touch of skin
Suck­ling. A cuddle in the dark.

Then love is simple
I love you mama
Means you are my world
And you are com­fort and
Healing to me

In teen­hood love is mer­cenary.
I love you ma means
Thanks for let­ting me
Borrow the car
Or stay out late
Or for buying those shoes
I asked for.

For a while, love is com­plex.
It is heady and pas­sionate
With the new lover.
Then edged with trust and hope,
Then our own chil­dren come and
I love you is amazement and joy
Abund­ance of love while
I love you mum is now
Deeper and filled with new respect

At some point per­haps
I love you is bitter or painful
A holding on or a working hard
And some­times a let­ting go

And I sus­pect
Right at the end
Holding someone’s hand
Eyes moist
That love is word­less again.