When I Opened Myself To You

When I Opened Myself To You

A Poem by Linda Marie Van Tassell

Love Unrequited


When I opened myself to you,

it wasn’t to receive what you were giving me,

it was to give you all of me ---

each breath, each sigh,

each echo of life

that abounds in your breath,

that outlives the living,

to go on living in you.


When I opened myself to you,

I wasn’t trying to escape anything;

but somehow, I found myself on the other shore.

I looked back and could see me, stranded,

looking right at me, now absent, afar,

having lost myself inside of you.


When I opened myself to you,

I didn’t know that I would lose myself forever,

my heart, my soul, every breath of being

ever intertwined with you.


When I opened myself to you,

I opened like the petals of a flower

stretched wide for the open glory of the sun,

the sky, the fresh morning air.

I tumbled and crumbled and crawled.

I fell, immeasurably, irreducibly, in love.


When I opened myself to you,

I didn’t profess my undying love.

I lived it.

I pronounced it in spirit, in soul,

in the only irrevocable way that I knew.


When I opened myself to you,

I stood breathless on the precipice

of who I was and who I’d become,

of the old me and the new me,

the you-me, the we.


When I opened myself to you,

I gave you everything;

and in the giving, I lost more than I knew I had.


Now, when I open myself to you,

I open my eyes to a world of ghosts,

all things that are living but not,

that float through my vision,

hurtling themselves towards the only life I know -



Now, when I open, I am alone,

a lone flower in a field of weeds;

and still I open,

in the only way I know,

in honor of what used to be,

what will never be,

what never was.


I open in memory,

in the joy of remembrance,

in lament of longing,

in absence of the real me,

the old me that I never knew,

who was born in the blossom of love

on the cusp of the great divide,

the divide between then and now,

here and there,

somewhen and somewhere,

with you and without you.


I open my eyes, my soul,

my breath of being to you,

always for you,

only for you.


I open in search of the real me,

my eyes scanning the shore

for the sight or sound of you;

for, I know when I find you,

when I discern you

and touch you and feel you,

I will find me, the real me,

the new me, the we-me

that I could never be without you.


Without you,

I close.

© 2019 Linda Marie Van Tassell

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Author's Note

Linda Marie Van Tassell

My Review

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oh my gosh!!!! this one aches and I could feel tears sting at me, You certainly know how to keep your audience glued. I hope you say this one aloud, its exceptionally beautiful. I relate

Posted 10 Months Ago

The beginning of your poem brought to mind the way we sometimes give our best to another person, but they don't see it or care. Such people (many self-absorbed) want the focus to be on him/herself, so pouring oneself out to a person like this is futile. I see your narrator knocking herself out in such a futile pursuit, using strong details to reflect the reality of how this happens. Even tho this narrator seemingly gave of herself, in a way, this feels like she's actually denying herself, especially the way the longing goes on & on (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 10 Months Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

10 Months Ago

Thank you, Margie. I denied myself for 25 years. I was so in love with this man that it left me no.. read more

10 Months Ago

You describe how it can be very powerfully. I never did the self-sacrifice thing, but I came from a .. read more
When I read the first stanza I was immediately thinking this one is gonna hurt and I stopped reading it for a fresher bunny brain to emerge next morning:) well her am i drinking my second cup of coffee and the power of you words in this have drawn a tear... as I was sure they would by the first few lines. You give all of yourself this practice I am now rather lacking in which makes the reading of this all the more palpable. These words transcend there symbology and resonate a "melody Marie" the blending of intents supercede to form a perfect conveyance... This is all about the power of words that i can sit here and draw a tear from a few scribbles on an old computer screen and feel a heart so true. I could delve into these lines for a month and not capture all I have to say about them. of the hundreds of poems and songs I have written over the years I can only say maybe ten of them do I feel have done this. Those feelings particularly the ones you speak of at the end are so electric spark relatable to me. Lastly I have to say that the courage to BE this and then to write this is absolute lovely.

Posted 11 Months Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

11 Months Ago

Dear Robert,

Thank you for such a thoughtful and beautiful review. Your words, your .. read more
Robert Trakofler

11 Months Ago

I’m familiar friends with this hollow:(
How is it that when I read this my heart opens, too, that I smile with endless joy … equally to the welling of forlorn tears in incomparable sadness.

Ya know, Linda Marie?
I, sometimes, feel that every poem you write is real, as though every bit of each one actually took place, and I know of so many this is true, but this one … well, there is something about it that flows under my skin, deeply through my being in such a way it leaves me with the actual sensation of being inside your heart, your mind, your very soul and spirit.
This one's real, I feel it in my bones, and the very Very, VERY wrong part of it is there was no idea of what he wasted … an entire life of sheer bliss by not embracing You as you embraced Him.
With a pure, complete love such as yours, I can imagine the many who read this incredulously asking, "Why couldn't He have been Me?"

Anyone who believes there is no poetic beauty in sadness never read "When I Opened Myself To You".
Linda Marie, this is the saddest, most deeply impacting poem I've ever read, and In this ultra-rare (for You) Free Verse, one of the most incredibly memorable, and I've read some pretty damned unforgettable poems of yours.

What else can I say … I'm crushed, even while I'm gobsmacked by the sheer poetic wonderment of your poetic eloquence, the humility it must have taken to write this masterful piece! ⁓ Richard 🍃

Posted 11 Months Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

11 Months Ago

Thank you, Richard. I just opened a vein and rained with this one. It is my love, no poetic invent.. read more
Richard 🍃

11 Months Ago

Who couldn't has no heartbeat.
Richard 🍃

11 Months Ago

Picture and music perfectly reflect the timbre of your poem's resonating emotional ache.
"When I opened myself to you" replays in my head well after reading this poem, studying the artwork, and listening to the music. The entire package is original art that expresses the most understated value of love, vulnerability. When we reveal everything to another, especially the raw heart and all the head junk under the costumes (physical and behavioral), and he/she does the same, that's love. It doesn't need stated because it's known. That's what you've captured and conveyed here.

Your words speak for her, the woman in the red dress, back turned, blackening rose let loose, who perhaps is hiding her tears, maybe coping with wine. And, the musical piece says more, especially the black against the gray desert and stormy blue skies, the woman opening herself, expressing that she fears nothing at this point, perhaps because she's offered and lost everything she wanted.

I also find strength in this poem, a courage to risk everything for a love she believes is hers to own, whether accepted or not. In short, this is an exceptional poem packaged with ideal imagery and music. We can learn much from studying what you've written here.

Posted 11 Months Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

11 Months Ago

Thank you so much. This free verse, a rarity for me, was a river that poured forth straight from th.. read more
So many want ...THIS... all their lives. THIS with its full intensity - the true depth and expanse of evermore.

Posted 11 Months Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

11 Months Ago

It's the full intensity of THIS that drove him away. It seems that a broken heart is a shuttered he.. read more

11 Months Ago

We don't choose whom we love - just whom we like...

and many CHANGE the one they thou.. read more
Linda Marie Van Tassell

11 Months Ago

I totally agree.
whoa! ...my compassion goes out to her ..friends saying "You must move on" don't understand how one can not ... its just that simple .. this one got a tiny bit lengthy for me and the repetition started to loose its punch ... as i read on i wanted more imaging, metaphor or something .. but that is just me .. and on the first reading .. i played the music while i read, something i don't do often .. but it looked and was perfect to augment the mood .. i can't help but think of my daughters .. and if this ever happened to them i would be heart broken too :(( the other thought that came to me, Ms. Linda, is that this is the reason men run away from commitment to the program .. it is such a depth of feeling and selflessness it is terrifying ;}}}} i just want to sit here with your protagonist .. in silence .. listening ..
" didn’t profess my undying love.
I lived it." for me those are the killer lines .. it almost makes me feel the nausea that such emotions can bring .. well done .. i think all young men before they start to look at the young ladies needs to look at this poem first ..maybe we would know better how precious a woman's love is ...

Posted 1 Year Ago

pronouncing love is one thing...living it is another...and if we give ourselves unselfishly to another...not wanting or expecting anything back, that is when the return gifts are endless...
giving is receiving....this is what love really is.
beautiful poem here. Oh what anyone would give to be the subject of this poem and to be loved with this much passion...

Posted 1 Year Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

1 Year Ago

Thank you, Jacob. I lived it. The return gift is this poem. :)

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8 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on September 20, 2019
Last Updated on September 20, 2019
Tags: Love, Unrequited, Forever, Alone, Linda Marie Van Tassell, When I Opened Myself To You


Linda Marie Van Tassell
Linda Marie Van Tassell


Poetry has been my passion since I was about fifteen years old, and I love the structure of rhyme and meter moreso than just randomly throwing words upon a page without any form whatsoever. Whi.. more..


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