Enduring Love

Photo: pexels.com labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: pexels.com
labeled for non-commercial reuse

love that endures
a sestina

you sit beside the hearth and dream
of years long past, of youth
those days so filled with dance, with life
that you do not forget
you walked in worlds of swirling greens
gave birth beneath the sky

you revel ‘neath cerulean skies
and catch a glimpse of dreams
and thus the burgeoning of green
as you reclaim your youth
those signs of spring you won’t forget
for you still pulse with life

in aging, still you sing of life
your eyes reflect the sky
you smile at love you can’t forget
those memories of dreams
fulfilled when you were full of youth
midst flowers, in fields green

you stood by him in days of green
he held you throughout life
you gave each other joys of youth
‘neath bound’ry of the sky
he was the answer to your dreams
you never will forget

a love that’s easy to forget
cherishes flowers, the green
of grass and sun, the blissful dream—
can these endure through life
when clouds obscure the blue, blue sky
and aging foils youth

how easy to enjoy one’s youth
and facile to forget
the promise made ‘neath azur skies
delight-filled days of green
yet to endure the stuff of life
we need more than to dream

beyond your youth, those days of green
(lest you forget) the greatest life
soars to the skies, surpasses dreams

Throughout the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day, much is written about love–most of which is about younger people, with an erotic twist quite often. Today, I want to write about love that has lasted throughout the ups and downs of a relationship, of the years. Love that the Greeks refer to as agape, love that is about the choices we make for the well-being of another. I have been privileged to witness that sort of love in my life as a nurse, when a caregiver puts aside oneself for the sake of his ill or cognitively impaired loved one.

I wrote this in response to a challenge from a fellow poet, Bjorn, to write a sestina in which the end words of each line follow a specific pattern throughout six stanzas, each of six lines, ending with a tercet that uses the six words in internal rhyme, also following a pattern. If you want to learn more about this complex form, go here

I will post this for OLN on Thursday and on my Christian Blog: Be Still and Know That I Am God. I am also linking this to Sanaa Rizvi’s Prompt Nights.


Wordsmith Wednesday–Writing from the Heart

Anthony van Dyck - Cupid and Psyche (1639–40)

Image via Wikipedia

As we approach Valentine’s Day, I’ve noted a number of poems and posts dealing with love. Today, I want to briefly address the subject of writing emotion because most of us as beginning writers have difficulty, whether we write prose or poetry, in expressing strong feelings adequately, but without going overboard.

As a disclaimer, I am not a romance writer and this post will not deal with the sexual or erotic expression of  love but rather the underlying currents of closely related emotion. Today, let’s just focus on love and let’s begin at looking at three types of love. To do that, I’m calling on my poor old memory.

Resorting to Greek, an obvious kind of love that I’ve already named recalls Eros, or erotic love. This is the love that is charged with the energy of sexuality, the love between spouses and lovers. The second is related to Philia.Think of Philadelphia, the City of brotherly love. This refers to the love between family and friends. And finally, there is Agape, the love that comes from higher ideals, that is selfless and beneficient. (Such is the love that those of us who are Christians refer to when asked to love our neighbors and even our enemies–a love, of course, common to all schools of spiritual thought.) These distinctions serve as a reference point when we are writing our characters’ inner thoughts and dialogue. How can we express just the right amount of intensity? Here are a few suggestions:

Avoid purple prose–the overboard, maudlin expression of love. Think of words or expressions that just drip with sentiment–flowery, unrealistic description or dialogue. Has anyone of you ever had a lover tell you, “Your eyes are blue like cornflowers and I fall into them enjoying ecstatic thrills that make my heart-throb” ?

Strive for subtlety. Call upon your own experience and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Think of words of love you have said or heard. Take notes when reading or watching movies or TV–jot down effective dialogue or descriptions.

Use metaphor or simile with care. This can work but calls for discretion. For example, in the purple prose example above. While “Your eyes are like cornflowers” may be over the top, you can always have the character see a field of cornflowers that reminds him of his loved one.

The nature of poetry is such that there is a bit more room for exaggeration, but even here I suggest evaluating your work using some of the above suggestions. While reviewing poetry for Jingle’s Poetry Potluck, I came across a poem by Bob at NotATameBlog that I believe exemplifies a well-written love poem. Thanks to Bob for allowing me to share his link with you: http://notatameblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/my-only-aim/

These are my opinions and if any of you have differing thoughts, I urge you to express it in comments. Also, if you have examples from your own work of either over-expression or effective expression of love, I’d love you to post it. This could be a fun discussion.