Thoughts on Writing- Nikki Giovanni’s Resignation



by Nikki Giovanni


I love you

because the Earth turns round the sun

because the North wind blows north


because the Pope is Catholic

and most Rabbis Jewish

because winters flow into springs

and the air clears after a storm

because only my love for you

despite the charms of gravity

keeps me from falling off this Earth

into another dimension

I love you

because it is the natural order of things



This is the first stanza of a poem I anticipate loving forever. My wife and I used this for a reading at our wedding and several years later, I like the poem even more than I did then. Giovanni is not generally perceived as a romantic poet but she has a deep vein of passion within her work that does, at times, take on a specifically romantic form.

Part of what I like so much about Resignation is that Giovanni reminds her reader that being in love should feel absolutely, perfectly normal.


I know many folks who don’t buy into Giovanni’s premise. Instead, they feel most comfortable with problematic, difficult and contentious romantic relationships. To an extreme, I know someone who ended a relationship because it wasn’t challenging enough. Things were too smooth for her liking. That’s an almost unbelievable concept to me. If you’re in love with someone, shouldn’t your standard experience with that person be pleasant and enjoyable? Shouldn’t trouble between you be the exception to the rule?


In Resignation, Giovanni defines love as the organizing principle of life in an amorous relationship. In the world she creates in this poem, love is the backdrop to how we live and who we are. Perhaps it’s only because I’m a hopeful romantic but I’m convinced that she’s on the right track. Whatever the reason, I’ll go with it. Joyfully.


I love you

because it is the natural order of things







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