To Love is to Live is a collection of poems that deeply describes the feelings that love can bring. Love is a roller coaster ride that allows lovers feel moments of sheer joy-the feeling that the whole world has stopped, and their love is the only thing that exists. Hearts beat as one, and the rest of the world is distant, existing far from their emotional core. Yet love can also leave someone feeling that their whole life has been shattered; the world has suddenly become a dark, empty space seemingly overnight. The emotions of love cover the spectrum from total bliss to pure misery. These emotions cannot be denied; their strength over the hearts of lovers cannot be ignored. Some may yearn to feel the emotional high that love causes, but are scared to feel the hurt that sometimes comes along with it. Both the joy and the pain, though, are essential to being human. If you are not in love, you are not living.
Love's curse is evil in itself; It preys on hearts of lovers at a time of weakness, Like a baby seal in the middle of the ocean. It seeks the souls of emptiness, And strikes at their most vulnerable, Like a hunter who follows its prey ...
From Kirkus Discoveries
Obsessive love inspires a torrent of conflicted emotions in these heartfelt poems.
Love, Makhadmi writes in "I Love Love," detonates "like the alpha phase of an atomic bomb," and the 99 poems she gathers here register the searing heat, abject surrender and toxic fallout that ensue. The latter two predominate in her first section, "Poems of Painful Love," addressed by a besotted woman-in "Raindrops" she wonders, "How can my life have meaning / When the sole purpose of my existence is to love you?"-to a nameless, and often heartless, man. "My stomach fills with pain you've left me in," she keens to her cruelly absent lover in "Drown" before continuing: "I drown in tears that have fallen from my lashes; / Like a seal, I can't keep up with killer whales." In "Day and Night," her unhinged anguish turns to self-victimization: "I cut my flesh to give relief to the constant agony in my heart." In "Pain," the tears and blood dry up under a hot anger: "To taste your pain excites me; / To hurt you is my mission. / Oh, how senseless I can be, / And send you to a mortician." Makhadmi's dark, repetitive, incantatory images of blood, tears and rainfall lift in the concluding section, "Poems of Sweet Love." Here the woman's devotion remains self-immolating-"I would sacrifice my happiness for you alone; / Like a wounded fox, I would lie on train tracks," she vows in "Sacrifice"-but in "No Boundaries" it yields a quiet joy-"Like the beauty of a flamingo, / My love for you is never ending"-and in "To Know You"-"My heart pitter patters with excitement...Because to know you is to love you"-a sunny lyricism. Makhadmi's unwavering focus on her narrator's inner feelings often turns the figure of the lover into a cipher, yet it works: her poetry vividly conveys a certain rapturous kind of love that blocks out everything but the heart's desire.
An intense, tragic, but ultimately hopeful accounting of the price-and value-of passion.