Happy St Valentine’s and Cordate Wishes to you however you spend this date – and I hope that the music and poetry below bring delight!
It’s not an astrological date but that doesn’t matter – any day is perfect to celebrate love! Loving and valuing your lover, your family, your very special Self, embracing the love of humanity – and just loving being alive! This day is associated with love, as mentioned in my Imbolc post, by association with Spring – all biochemistry springing into life!
Amor vincit omnia
There is so much written about love, especially by the great poets and thinkers. Are there many types of love or just one expressed in many ways? Some emotions can be mistaken for love e.g. emotional insecurity. I like Oscar Wilde’s (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900): “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance!” Phrases and Philosophies for the use of the Young(1894) Taken in the context that, when we love and respect ourselves, we are content, self-appreciative, fulfilled, emotionally sufficient – then we are fully able to love another. Wilde also wrote in Salome (1893) “le mystère de l’amour est plus grand que le mystère de la mort.” The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death. Indeed.
When I was about 15, I lead a school group along the Seine, Paris, singing John Lennon’s “All you need is Love”! Yoko once said that Love is to do with relaxation i.e. being yourself and no “Mind Games.”
Shakespeare’s (1564-1616) famous sonnet,Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken’ It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be takne. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error amd upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
refers to Love’s permanent nature, is very popular at weddings.
John Donne (1572-1631), metaphysical poet, lawyer and priest, often wrote about love in sensual terms, in The Ecstasy:
So must pure lovers soules descend
T’affections, and to faculties,
That sense may reach and apprehend,
Else a great Prince in prison lies.
Falling in love is a wonderful natural drug produced by our own hormones and it is the first stage of attraction. “A temporary hormonal imbalance,” my son used to say as a teenager doing the voice of Mr Spock, Star Trek!
Love, on the other hand, has a much more lasting quality and usually evolves and deepens over time where people, who were not already intuitive, begin to merge and know each other’s thoughts.
The initial biochemistry whethere or not we are immediately aware is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen creating lust in men and women.
The next phase is dominated by monoamines, the neuro-transmitters: dopamine, adrenalin (or norepinephrine) and serotonin. This little trio create an “in-love” drug state of total bliss! A bit like living on a heavenly, happy, crazy space ship! This is when we can think or dream of nothing else but the other person, we require less sleep and food because our whole body is flooded with happy chemicals! Great!
The final phase, which we hope will be equally as happy (if the right questions have been asked, truths, desires and life intentions shared etc) as a new group of chemicals so that two people can build a more lasting and balanced environment for their future.
Some people are hooked on the second phase though and are not yet equipped to go any further! That’s ok, too, as long as both people are happy and clear about that from the outset.
One of my favourite John Donne poems I learned as a teenager was: The Sun Rising, imposing its daylight and time on two lovers in bed who want to be left alone in bliss and timelessness:
Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus
Through windows and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late schoolboys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the King will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.
In Shakespeare’s eponymous play, when Juliet hopes it is still night, she doesn’t want her young lover, Romeo, to leave, she says:
Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree:
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
But Romeo knows: It was the lark, the herald of the morn, No nightingale.
The Nightingale and the Rose, Oscar Wilde “Be happy,” cried the Nightingale, “be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart’s-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense.”
Lovers of voice will love this nightingale singing without any lyrics ….. Le Rossignol et la Rose/ the Nighingale and the Rose – by the divine Rita Streich. Embedding has not been allowed so here is the link instead:
By contrast, another love song from Piaf:
There is, of course, the Love in deep friendship shared between true, sympatico minds which is a great treasure in life to have. Poets and other artists were either born or drawn to the Lake District and every room of Dove Cottage, Grasmere, was often full of visitors, even the kitchen served as a bedroom at night, so keen were they to be among the Wordsworths. Whether it is true that Dorothy Wordsworth expressed the term: “Three hearts one mind,” or that Coleridge said: “Three persons and one soul,” as the three walked regularly all day across the beautiful fells and breathed in that sacred air I also knew from childhood, it is certainly true that their friendship and love of one another was profound; and I so wish I could have been there to walk, talk and listen with them.
“No Man, [or Woman] is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”
We are all love and loved. Cosmic love to you all!