Ada Limón, 1976
“The Conditional” by Ada Limón, is a deep, dramatic poem about a one true love. She knows that if the world was no more, the time she had with her love was enough.
This poem has a unique contrast between what is and isn’t everlasting. She uses comparisons such as, “Say the moon becomes an icy pit” to show that things may go wrong be she wouldn’t change a thing. Limón imagines the world is falling apart and the time she can spend with her love is dwindling. She wants him to say he would spend his last moments with her, watching the world crumble away.
The title of this poem “The Conditional”, embodies the true meaning of her wishes. It is significant because no matter what she wants conditional love. The title is also ironic because the poet is talking about many things that aren’t conditional or everlasting. She uses unconditional things to contrast with the one true undying, unending theme: love.
From the beginning of the poem repetition is used. She starts almost every line with “Say..”. I believe the repetition is what makes this poem so powerful. It reinforces the idea of agreeing with the poet in that difficult things may happen but their love still stands.
This poem gives me an odd sense of hope. As a child of divorce, I haven’t really known love to be unconditional. From my earliest memory, love was never enough. Limón's words show me that, with the right person, love doesn’t have to end. It’s very peculiar to learn that even though situations may become difficult or the world may start falling apart, love withholds.
I thought this poem was very well written. I loved how the poet made the poem personal by including details from her own relationship while also allowing others to relate to her feelings. The poem makes you take a look into your life and although it’s meant to question her love, it makes you question the loves in your life, romantic relationships or family.