To Be In Love | A Poem by Gwendolyn Brooks

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To be in love by Gwendolyn Brooks Poem
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To Be In Love – The Poem

To be in love
Is to touch with a lighter hand.
In yourself you stretch, you are well.
You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or a light spring weather.
His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.
You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.
When he
Shuts a door-
Is not there_
Your arms are water.
And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.
You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.
You remember and covet his mouth
To touch, to whisper on.
Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!
Oh when to apprize
Is to mesmerize,
To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.

by Gwendolyn Brooks


“To Be In Love” Stories

I am sure you all have heard weird stories when the best of your friends were in love. And maybe you had your own weird story, which of course wasn’t weird when you fell in love. It all made sense then, but things are different when you look in retrospect.

Jessie, my best friend, was a person for whom the likes on social media were like dopamine. Nothing made her feel better than those numbers, not even the grades in her exams, or the competitions she won. Social media validation was the thing of utmost importance to her. And once she met Dominik, she suddenly stopped looking at those numbers. The only thing that mattered to her was whether the posts came to notice of Dominik or not.

Pablo, “truly, madly, and deeply” fell in love with Sarah. He stalked all her social media accounts so hard. He by hearted details of each and every one Sarah knew. He knew not just names, but also their professions, likes, and dislikes of her parents, siblings, cousins, friends, cousin’s parents, their parent’s relatives, these people’s pets, and the million people she knew. And all this while he hadn’t had the courage to talk to her.

Soon after Scarlett met Mark, all her Pinterest which was so far filled with boards related to Harry Potter memes, Avengers, and Star Wars, saw an inflow of boards related to wedding dresses, venues, wedding dance. Even her google feeds got filled with places she wanted to travel with her better half.

Every time Trevor saw Megan smile while texting to someone or being friendly with some other guy in the college, we could see him in a sort of discomfort zone. Everyone around could see his pulse rising. He wouldn’t be able to concentrate on whatever discussion was going on.

And the best experience for our group of friends was when Ariana fell in love with the guy, whose name we never got to know about. She was already a pretty amazing chef. She started practicing even more. And we would get to try some new cookies, pastries, cakes, and the amazing recipes she practiced and tried to improvise.

But what is really amusing here is that none of these people had confessed how they felt to the person they had fallen for. Maybe they were just too scared to do that, despite knowing that nothing is going to move forward unless they talked about it.


Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks Poems at
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Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet, author, and teacher. Her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people in her community. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on May 1, 1950, for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

Throughout her prolific writing career, Brooks received many more honors. A lifelong resident of Chicago, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968, a position she held until her death 32 years later. She was also named the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985–86 term. In 1976, she became the first African-American woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

To read more about Gwendolyn Brooks, click here.

To Be In Love – Poem Analysis / Summary

‘To Be in Love’ is an attempt by Gwendolyn Brooks to explain to the world, how the journey of their love story is going to be like. She beautifully explains how emotional roller-coaster this pilgrimage would possibly be for you if you truly fall in love with someone.

Most likely, you will start looking through the eyes of the person you are in love with not just at the world but at yourself too. The view would be very basic but the most heavenly.

Suddenly one day you will realize, that the person you love also knows how you feel, whether you have expressed or not. And that moment, it would become so difficult for you to look into his eyes. You know! the feeling when you become restless when you don’t feel them around, but you can’t see them in the eyes when they are around. Maybe because you fear that your eyes tell the truth. The truth, that must not be said.

Once you have expressed, you feel so free. You almost unburden yourself of the baggage that you have been carrying for so long. But what you considered ‘a certain death’ (the time when you express), isn’t that bad after all. This is the moment you realize that what you feared for the most, is very common.

To summarize, beauty and pain are the two sides of a coin for those in love. It is simply important to realize that in love, your agony and torments are not unique. According to Brooks, you just have fallen “into the commonest ash”.

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To be in love by Gwendolyn Brooks Poem
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1 Comment

  1. I’d have liked to reflect to this poem a bit sooner. The poet expresses correctly this heavenly and at the same time, hellish sense. And the state when one sees through the eyes of the other, the beloved person, as we say, when one ‘sees through pink glasses’. And “ghastly freedom” – I think Gwendolyn Brooks grabbed the essence of how we all feel when we are in love. She uses expressing pictures and has a telling style. By them she can touch everybody – who knows this sense them, for this reason, who doesn’t know yet, them for that her poem makes wonder them. Great poem. 🙂 And the little love stories reminded me for my own memories, as well.

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