19th c.

Young Ann was a tavern-keeper’s daughter,

her Abe a believer in the Natural laws.

He dreamed of the Illinois Legislature,

while Ann, of her hand to offer.


Here, then gone at twenty-two, Miss Rutledge passed of typhus.

Folklore rose of their fated love,

of the depression that near-uprooted young Abe Lincoln,

who never cast adrift, at Concord Cemetery, her soul from dust.


20th c.

The French priest Teilhard and American sculptor Lucile,

foredestined from the beginning to agape love,

corresponded for twenty-five long years.

De Chardin and Swan explored what they otherwise concealed.


Their ink of friendship, and love—a kind, flowed

of sights and sounds, smells, tastes and feelings—

those of touch—dare imagine forbidden touch, I find certain.

In illuminant ink, their fated love glowed.


21st c.

I move furtively in the past, not engaged in the present,

for I take comfort in those dead, whom I deeply know—

those untouchables for years and years, yet still here.

I desire another whom I can’t have—lovelorn.


I think of Annabel Lee and souls never dissevered.

I think of The Raven and love nevermore.

Which is it when she is gone, yet still here?


–by S.A. Bort

[above photo from RUMI Facebook page]

For more on the above-mentioned relationships, see:

Walsh, John.  The Shadows Rise:  Abraham Lincoln and the Ann Rutledge Legend.  2008.

Gilbert, Mary and Thomas King.  The Letters of Teilhard de Chardin and Lucile Swan.  2005.