Before I lose you, I would like to see you again and again.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Sep 6, 2013
get elephant's newsletter


“Things I Would Like to Do with You.” is now available! It’s eco and lovely. Get your copy here

Things I Would Like to do with You Before I Lose You.


“For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.”

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery


I would like to grow old with you, before I lose you.

You may lose me, first, for I am not all so very young, anymore. But I will take care of myself so that I may build thin bonfires on the cold beach beneath the country deep sky’s bright stars. I will climb regularly, I will wear through expensive running shoes running the hills with Red dog, I will bicycle every day no matter the weather, I will yoga (reluctantly for it stretches me where I am tight though leaning into resistance makes me lazy). I will eat real food and go to bed at a reasonable hour (putting my work away and taking up a book). I will not take my stress too seriously: I am good at walking away, sighing and laughing. For I would like to live to see your life. You will grow old like a thick vine, still flowering.

I would like to see you wear that same turquoise dress with white flowers when your hair has turned white.


“True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.
~ Honore de Balzac


I would not like you to cut your wirey hair, but to wear it long: proudly but messily the way beautiful old women who like to garden or make art do.


Looking into the world
I see alone a chrysanthemum,
Lonely loneliness.


c-33-w-cary-grant-2I would like to make love to you, and again, my tired head on your breasts, and again, my strong arms and shoulders lifting your hips up and rocking them, again, both hands turning you and pulling you and finally crushing down into you, again, my sweat and weight upon you. And again: for sex may get boring, but making love does not get boring, but it does get more and more intimate.

I would like to give you small gifts for no reason: like an old Oscar Wilde or William Blake book or a spontaneous, forgettable haiku with one too many syllables tacked up above the dishes that reminds you to relax or finish your art for I am picking up the children.

I would like to look at these children and feel a mixture of pride and relief in their health and beauty, and kindness and lack of self-consciousness. Little knights.

I would like to notice you noticing other men and remember that I do not own you, or hold you, or have you: I am just a train, running alongside your tracks.

And I will not smother you, but I will smother them—with the paper-thin friendliness of a tiger, burning bright.

I would like to notice you ignoring them, too, as I do two moments after a beauty catches my gaze. For we both remember that we have a thing so rare: we are best friends and skilled lovers, both: we help one another to laugh at ourselves.


I stand like the lonely juniper
Which grows among rocks,
Hardened and tough.
Loneliness is my habit —
I grew up in loneliness.

Yet sometimes also,
Lonely moon,
Sad and Happy
Come together.


I would like to love you. I would like to love you after the honeymoon. I would like to fight with you and dislike you and judge you and fault you…and remember to breathe and leave. And I would like to quickly fault myself and regret it all and go for a long hard walk, stomping in the woods. And I would like to come back and apologize and mean it, mostly.

I would like to stare into your window eyes and I would like to cry but I will not. I have spent so many years trying clothes on, that when we set our hearts next to one another and found no fitting necessary—but rather we found you slow and me fast and both of us set against one another in delight: friendship shot full with passion—oh, I knew then that we had something more than a love affair.

I would like to take you out of the red woods and talk with you in the wood-paneled café with a fire lit in the dark stove. It is winter, after a chocolate tasting at a golden old book store, I ask you, and you say yes. This is before I lose you.

I would like to go on a first date with you, a VIP party, and see you melt into me…until my bad whiskey makes me dull and your interest slows and I just want to go home and I lose you.


I would like to make love to you, and again, and again: I would like to take you upstairs, lifting you up onto my standing lap and seeing you, later, lying on the bed, open. And too readily take you then, again. But you take me first, in, and you take me to a honeyed dreamworld and I am lost in you. I would like you to think to “spice things up,” standing, touching your toes. I would like to make love into you in the moonlight, you trying to coo softly so as not to wake up the neighbors. I would like for the loud neighbors on the other side to finally holler in hypocritical anger at three in the morning when you have been screaming, we are indoors, now, even so: and for us to laugh and close the window, it is so hot, I need air, so much sweat. I would like for you to pause as I, from behind, first move with you and you pause to tie up your thick curling hair out of your face. I would like to watch you walk down the hall, tall, in front of me, naked but for your underwear. I would like you to ask me to leave my work and rendezvous in the middle of the day for afternoon sex, it is the best. Camping with friends: I would like to stuff the soft edge of my hand or the pillow or the sleeping bag in your mouth, we are trying to be quiet again, and again failing, your head pushed against the edge of the tent, we’re both laughing and busy groaning as you open your innermost heart’s flower to me in yearning delight. I would like to draw you in graphite, and paint you in purple, sitting cross legged, wearing very little, on our couch.


I would like to be surprised by your honesty and wisdom and your willingness not to understand yourself, but to wait, and then to leap as much as fifty feet off the cliff and into the water. You communicate, and are not selfish or cowardly in your decisions.

I would like to dance with you, but not in slow-motion.

I would like you to stop laughing at me and let me take my dancing seriously: relationships must view one another in the fresh light of a morning white with sunheat but cool with breeze, or we fix one another in our expectations and we live down to those expectations and life if stale makes a relationship unsustainable.

I would like to move into and against you in the middle of an enthusiastic crowd and later we will walk to the parking lot and I will lean against you, leaning against a car. It is not our car, I bicycled.

I would like us to not play games, but rather to be simply honest no matter what. It is a simple rule: good or bad, happy or sad, talk it out to me and it will all be alright.

I would like us to play games like Scrabble, or Trivial Pursuit, at the pub, sitting in the tall golden booths with dear friends, drinking hoppy beer. I will eat spinach salad with walnuts and balsamic and nachos with beans and black olives and lots of hot sauce.

Before I lose you, I would like to see you again. I will hike with you (and Red dog) up to the wide pale park beneath the tall walk-stopping mountains and then up and then down another mountain where I played Malvolio and Ferdinand when I was a boy, in the red rock amphitheater built by FDR’s men. Or I would like to bike with you all the way up to the little mountaintop cowboy town for folkfiddling music, or go to an outdoor movie with you, someone brought their own couch, or to a fancy upstairs dinner, the kind you imagine having when you’re twelve and you think about being grown up, or to farmers’ market on Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning.

I would like to run into you on the street and flirt at you and have you talk over me and laugh, for you are strong like a filly, and you laugh into me as I talk back over you, and we talk over one another as the tide does when it retreats and folds up against itself, old waves relaxing back into new waves rushing.

Before I lose you I would like to go to a bad poetry reading where everyone talks loudly and humorlessly, spoken word-style, because that is what they think poetry sounds like. When really, we will smile at one another, for we know what poetry sounds like: it sounds like this. Close your soft eyes and listen. It sounds like listening to whales, underwater, on an old vinyl record. It sounds like the nightly crickets we forget to hear. It sounds like the pause before a cherished old song comes on: say, Supremes, or Debussy or Chopin, or Gene Kelly, or some whiskey-lit Scottish folk. It sounds like old travels and old streams and going for a walk on a straight dirt road after dinner.

I would like to hold your hand. For it is always the first time, when I hold your hand, for I am so enthusiastic about you that I hope you do not notice, and I have to constantly remind myself that I will lose you.

For the future is all made up, none of this matters, these are just words.

I would like to stop wordplaying, and see you.


Never, never trust.


I would like to belatedly protect you without jealousy or anger, and I would like to debate with you about astrology, Tarot or Mercury Retrograde and I would like to be right but lose the argument, but not give in. And I would like to cuddle with you, despite the late summer heat sweating us into one another…still we hold and fall asleep, the heat makes for tired old hound dogs, lanky, napping.


But be friendly.
By being friendly toward others
You increase your non-trusting.
The idea is to be independent,
Not involved,
Not glued, one might say, to others.
Thus one becomes ever more
Compassionate and friendly.
Whatever happens, stand on your own feet
And memorize this incantation:
Do not trust.

~ Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche


I would like to insist on staying with you when you give birth, though I am not good with blood from those I cherish, and I will faint nearly and be a bother and be asked to leave but I will stay and faint and be a bother.

I would like to read your handwriting and I would like to notice the way your eyes curve, and your wide white smile, and your simple yet personal style, and I would like to ask you the same damn questions again and again so that you wonder aloud if I do not listen but no, I assure you without reassuring you: I have always been forgetful and it does not mean I do not care.

I would like to grow old with you before I lose you.

THINGS i would like rough coverGet your copy of Things I would like to do with You.



~ But wait! There’s more! ~

Read the first, Things I would like to do with you in the Woods, first.

Read the second, Things I would like to do with you this Evening, second.

Read the third, Things I would like to Remember about our day in Vermont, third.

Read the fourth, Things I would like to do with you in Time, here.

This is the fifth.

Read the sixth, I would like to Communicate with you about Difficult Things, after this.

Read the seventh, Things I would like to say to you without you Knowing.

norman rockwell boy reading book home

Erik Satie – Gymnopédie No.1:

Whale Song:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


55 Responses to “Before I lose you, I would like to see you again and again.”

  1. cemilygo says:

    Well, okay, yes! Beautiful.

  2. stacyecarroll says:


  3. elephantjournal says:

    Some FB comments:
    Jessica Séguin Possibly the most romantic thing I've ever read.

    Eve Mathews Lovely!

    Diana C Beautifully written …

    K Sole that's nice
    Elephant Journal (head pat)

    Cheryl B lovely!

    Judy R Lovely! However, at the end, I would like it to say: "And, before I die, I would like to ignore my teacher, look into your eyes, and KNOW TRUST."
    Elephant Journal Said teacher said we can trust one another's basic nature. But not trusting means, conversely, that we must rely on the present moment, always. Which is where love happens and is rooted.

    In true love, therefore, trust is superfluous, overrated, in other words. Present moment ftw!

    Kris Yeargain Just beautiful…

    Amy Trafford Love letters are the best….

    Elephant Journal Said teacher said we can trust one another's basic nature. But not trusting means, conversely, that we must rely on the present moment, always. Which is where love happens and is rooted.
    Like · a few seconds ago
    Elephant Journal Trust is overrated, in other words. Present moment ftw!

    Kristin Monk this is my favorite so far

    Isabelle J its wonderful

    Cassie F This is one of the most poignant pieces I have ever read. It made me so glad to be in love, and if I weren't in love, it would make me glad to have BEEN in love, and if I'd never been in love, it would make me ache to fall in love.

    Sasha L Beautiful

    C Eaves-lorenz w o w
    Waylon Lewis Yay!

    Bobbie Covert Wow.

    Jennifer R I adore this "series". Perfect blend of belly-laughs and serious contemplation, which to me is the essence of the most beautiful relationships. Thank you for writing, and sharing.

    Brette C Breathtaking.

    Kathy H Yes, wow. Beautiful.

    LaVon S Ihrig Excellent!!!!

    Alix L How lovely One day.

    Janice D some times Elephant Journal boggles my mind, but it does usually make me think or ponder, at thats a good thing I guess.

    Marsha H All women long for that kind of passionate love! Few find it.

    Toni S love this

    Elaine F Beautiful !!!

    Patte F Exquisite! Is this your masterpiece, Waylon? I could buy the whole book!

  4. carmen says:


  5. Cherie says:

    I would like….to be the woman in the turquoise dress.

  6. Patricia says:

    Magnificent xoxo

  7. Dawn-Marie says:

    The woman in the turquoise dress is quite the muse.

  8. Jo-Anne says:

    I loved this.

  9. elephantjournal says:

    You're on it! ~ Way

  10. quilless says:

    That's some love letter… I hope the feeling is mutual!

  11. durga rose says:

    just after i say "ciao bella," i would love to hear your painfully sweet coy giggle wince, again …. and again.

    would like to smell your hair , right behind your ears … spending hours, days, minutes, seconds infinite .

    then meet you out back, under the window and stars .

    remembering you say "i love you" with your eyes,

    again, again. over and over …

  12. Lisa says:

    This series has been absolutely magnificent. I never want them to end…..!
    Thank you.

  13. Abby Kenney says:

    Your words (and style and outlook and beauty) give me hope and make me feel safe and make me want to connect and make flicker a long-dormant desire. Thank you for that ♥

  14. Paige F. says:

    To die loved in those ways, is all one could hope for.

  15. occultfan says:

    "I am just a train, running alongside your tracks. And I will not smother you, but I will smother them—with the paper-thin friendliness of a tiger, burning bright." – Diggin' it. Well put. But that would say back off… how would you, Waylon, act/react if they pursued? Would you see yourself graceful? fearful? rageful?

  16. occultfan says:

    There are many wonderful men, many wonderful writers. While Waylon might have his own muse, you will find your equal admirer in your own time. Be open to him, her, them… they'll be there when it happens, and if you're open, happen it will.

  17. occultfan says:

    "In true love, therefore, trust is superfluous, overrated, in other words. Present moment ftw!" – this comment ftw

  18. occultfan says:

    And once-more, this article showing that one of the 50 shades of grey is indeed elephant.

  19. elephantjournal says:

    Jennifer W Just read this. "And I will not smother you, but I will smother them—with the paper-thin friendliness of a tiger, burning bright." I love that line (and many others).

    Sundari S this is beeeeeeeeeutifull.

    Giovanna C So beautiful ! I have to share just to keep it to read over again

  20. elephantjournal says:

    The way I generally interact with those who would woo a partner is to be flattering, warm, attentive, and to box them out with friendliness.

  21. fluxustulip says:

    Holy Heck. How did I miss the last few of this series? They really do get better and better.

    I must admit I've been inspired to use your titles and themes to write my own letters as a call to the universal beloved…and maybe, if I'm lucky, an actual human beloved. Although I do not have the courage to publish them for the world. You've got deep vulnerability, Mr. Lewis. Thanks for the incentive. I am, yet again, sending you support so that you may find/attract what you seek.

    btw, Satie and WhaleSong (my gentle people) are the perfect combo. Great ending…or segue into the next piece.

  22. Akua says:

    an eternal notion and I found myself never letting go…so grand

  23. Geoxroma says:

    … And if the train runs its tracks and if the paper thin burns in the fireplace , and the turquoise dress bleeds its dye .. And if the wind stops the sails on their track .. Remember it as the way you had me at hello…And if you love another .. And my heart cracks open from your absence and if your children grow up to be kings and your dog dies of old age and if I am not the one you choose to see before I loose you … My long grey hair tossled after making my art .. You will always remain my love of a thousand lifetimes eternal …for I searched to find you … And I searched to find you … and i searched … and instead you ,… you found me again and again

  24. stunning… 'send the chaperones away' …

  25. Jacinta says:

    Such intuitive & heart felt writing brings out the lover in all of us I believe. I admit, some years ago, whilst working in the country, I bought a gift for my “husband-to-be” & it is still unopened. I was in love with the place, for it drew out of me, something which touched my soul, and though sometimes I wonder if I’m just a dreamer, I cannot doubt what occurs on a soul level, as there is no explanation ….

  26. Jenn says:

    Wow…. simply beautiful….

    i read this multiple times, and asked Jim to read it aloud to me. i swooned each time.

    Well done Waylon. Very impressed : )

  27. elephantjournal says:

    aw. Big love to you both!

  28. Roxanna says:

    Beautiful and sad all at once. I hope you love without restraint and that it’s returned.

  29. Steve says:

    But be friendly.
    By being friendly toward others
    You increase your non-trusting.
    The idea is to be independent,
    Not involved,
    Not glued, one might say, to others.
    Thus one becomes ever more
    Compassionate and friendly.
    Whatever happens, stand on your own feet
    And memorize this incantation:
    Do not trust.

    ~ Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

    I'd love some help with this quote, its calling me…………… but I'm stuck …..anyone ?

  30. twocents says:

    If you think you're likely to lose her, then you will. Why not believe in it and surrender to her/it? You only have one shot at being human and being able to hold on (or trust) anyhow, at least for a while. Let the spiritual side take over when it must, until then, be human 🙂 This was really beautiful and intimate. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Victoria Buchan Dyer says:

    I struggle with "Do not trust".
    This article so resonates. My husband is dying from an inoperable brain tumour and I wish I could tell him all of this again and again.

  32. Sophie Reason says:


  33. Cameron Chandler says:

    ….."not glued, one might say, to others"…..

    That's the perfect counterpoint to this essay on love and soul-mates.

    Buddhism calls us to be observant of the Samsara of life, and to respond to it by cultivating detachment and seeking an inner life to replace the impermanence of material life lived embodied in the conscious plane we inhabit.

    Waylon Lewis' essay talks about the joy of being on the Earth plane embodied to experience the intense joy of love centered in another person, the ecstasy of carnal love, the Attachment to another soul. He has clearly found it, and he is particularly eloquent in expressing his joy. That's why this essay is so beautiful. But, Waylon is also aware of the ephemeral nature of love–in fact he titles the essay, "…Before I Lose You"… And he is very aware of staying in the moment, creating, experiencing, nurturing, cherishing the love he has created.

    My take on it is this. Some of us, me in particular, are on Earth to experience love. Maybe, Mr. Lewis too, since he speaks about wrestling with his Buddhism. I wrestle with mine. I've also been lucky enough to find, too briefly, the kind of love Waylon Lewis describes. A teacher I valued told me i had been pulled back into embodiment to experience love because desire had blocked me from advancing from, or even remaining in the place i had been. This seems to make sense. But, of course, it can also be the ultimate enabler of a life of indulgence, a built-in excuse not to pursue spiritual growth that requires detachment. I think each of us has to feel their own feet on their own path. The soul may lead in one direction, the heart in another. Both are paths.

  34. A_light says:

    Check this out. I just posted my opinion on apiece written in elephant journal about do not trust. it is a soulful piece! I agree with Halyna about not having expectations and would include not taking anything for granted. If you were to experience a connection such as this could you, would you trust that it would last forever? Or would you not trust and savor every present moment without exception, even the moments of discontent remembering not to trust that it will last forever. How then would you live out this relationship befor you were to lose it, at the end of either's life journey or the relationships journey. How fully would you give yourself over to the moments of thoughtfulness, passion, selflessness and savoring of those present moments. Do not trust that the gift of this moment, this passionate connection, this relationship, or this lifetime will last forever and savor them as you would all things delicious.

  35. Carly says:

    just beautiful!

  36. trey merritt says:


  37. guestinyourheart says:

    These are so moving. My favorite line is "oh, I knew then that we had something better than tragic love."

  38. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you for sharing. Appreciate it.

  39. elephantjournal says:

    Oh, wow. May you find a way to let him know all at once. I'm sure he does. Hugs.

  40. Jacinta says:

    Aaaah, alright, so here I am, reading this posted to fb again ~ it’s hauntingly beautiful, and I crack up major-like at, “It’s not our car, I biked’ Lolololololol

  41. Tahiti says:

    Waylon, your writing just blows me away. The emotion and passion it invokes seems to break my heart out of its cage. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing in the raw.

  42. Erin says:

    I do believe I died reading this. And came back to life and cried, just a tiny bit. Absolutely beautiful.

  43. Andie Sobey says:

    Thank you for sharing this! So beautiful, passionate, poignant – your words truly resonated. I almost felt that my husband was writing to me. He does not possess your amazing gift of putting words together as you do however he shows me his wonderful love through our days and nights together. I had chemotherapy yesterday and have now been able to release tears of love & hope after reading this, as I am enduring this so that we can grow ever older together. Thank you xx

  44. Hanna Kushala says:

    Thats a tall order…lol 😉

  45. Tara Ewashy says:

    "I would like you not to cut your wirey hair, but to wear it long: proudly and tightly but messily the way beautiful old women who like to garden or make art do."
    I have been wanting to be that old woman for a very long time. And I think I can now see myself there (in twenty years 😉 )

  46. Tess says:

    Oh what a beautiful beautiful experience it was reading this poem. It took me to such highs and also to some sad lows all at once. Heartwarming. Thank you. Beautifully written.

  47. Mel says:

    wow – overwhelmed with emotion – such love truly described in your prose feels authentic and elusive to me! Thank you for sharing!

  48. Laurie says:

    Would you settle for short? Like 5"…?