Lots of flotsam and jetsam floating around in my head to write about, but only one of them keeps bobbing to the surface again and again: LOVE.
Now I don't want to get all sentimental and sappy, but bear with me. We're in the month of August, of sandy beaches and yellow hay-bales and harvests, honey-warm evenings, and last hurrays for summer love. (And I also want to change subject lest I'm boring readers, was going to change font, but opted for the personal option instead...)
Love is what it all comes down to isn't it. What we all want to hear about, read about, experience. And what could be more heady than summer love? That daisy-chain delicate ditsy ice-cream-gooey head-over-heels-tumbling evening-rose-glow lantern-lit type of love.
Romantic love has been thee Muse of writers for millennia. Without it would poetry even exist I wonder? Poetry is the medium for strong emotion after all and what could be stronger than love? I bet the sheer unexpressible agony and torment of it drove people to try and unleash it in words for some peace of mind. Poetry unravels knots in emotions, gives them depth and breadth of expression so they can become clear. If you have a dilemma you can't figure out - try a poem. They're like wizards - they provide answers in an instant. And oh, when it comes to the pain of unrequited love what better to relay your misery than a poem? All the best love poems speak of unrequited love. Just look at the multiple volumes of W.B. Yeats. Where would he (and we) be without the object of his unrequited affections Maud Gonne?
Also, dipping your pen into the ink of love can create beautiful blooms of poems, elaborate with emotion. With a Muse, poems write themselves, glorious treasure you never knew was there, distilled from the sweet nectar of love we keep at our cores.
Okay, I'm drifting off target. (And here's where it gets personal; but writing is hardly for hiding, its for proclaiming) Me, I kind of like someone. Well no 'kind of' in it , hence the heartbreak (sigh). And he's like a summer's day (so no need to compare thanks Mr S.) Does he love me, does he love me not? Oh damn those tiresome age-old refrains! I'm reminded of Romeo's definition of love at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, that "love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs; being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears: what is it else? a madness most discreet, a choking gall, and a preserving sweet." Hmm, bittersweet alright, but spot-on. Shakespeare knew his stuff when it comes to matters of the heart. All very relevant especially when things are as that great old love cliche goes: 'complicated'.
And in the midst of endless pining and wallowing, it strikes me that love is a bit like being involved in the creative arts. Following the dictation of creative urges is a bit like following the dictation of your heart: they both demand daring risk-taking, believing, trusting imagination and intuition time and again over logic and reality, and an unrivalled, fierce degree of honesty that leaves you vulnerable and utterly exposed while all the while urging a total disregard as to what others will think of you. Ahh. Neither easy pursuits, but ultimately necessary if you want to be: a/a great artist and b/experience real love.
Both also require a huge leap of faith. When the words come, you have to grab them and transcribe them and believe that they'll yield results. Believe in the starry void they materialise from and that it'll always be there. Believe that they will close the gap between imagination and reality. Love also demands a big leap of faith. Almost equal to that required for a moon-landing. Or a trapeze jump. A believing in possibility over all else. A leap that will close the distance between two people, just as it does with imagination and reality.
By the way, what I'm always reminded of when talking about these 'leaps' is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade film, where Indie is on the hunt for the holy grail (coincidentally enough). When faced with a number of dangerous tasks to get to it, he's met with a giant gaping chasm with no way across. The clue says to take a leap of faith. So he does. He puts one foot out over the edge and steps forward. And voilá, a ledge appears, seemingly out of nowhere. But when the camera shifts, you can see it was there all along, but invisible from his (and our) angle. So there you go, straight from Spielberg, the rewards of believing. Everytime we write on a blank page, we're taking a leap. And when we tell someone how we feel, a leap into a white space, hoping for stars, with no net below to catch us, except for the buoyancy of faith.
And so dear reader, I am on the verge of leaping. Whether it be into a stone quarry or a bed of roses I don't know. Summer Love SOS: to be sorted out soon! Until then, I stand on a metaphorical cliff-edge, wind whipping hair, fear and fantasy wreaking havoc with my mind, in amber-light anticipation. Until then, my pen is poised over paper, hovering in mid-air, somewhere between belief and beginnings.
When love is wrecking your head - like me - turn to poetry. See if it can't put it in context for you. Are you as smitten as Carol Ann Duffy when she's pouring her lover some tea in 'Tea'? Or as melancholy as Pablo Neruda in his Love Sonnets? Try Shakespeare's Sonnets, all secret love and pained pining for someone he can't have. Revel in love's transformative powers in Slyvia Plath's 'Love Letter'. Or sample ee cumming's smitten sentiments in ''i carry your heart with me'. Or any of Yeats for that matter. Or better yet, try writing a poem of your own, for as they say, 'love makes a poet of everyone.'
So that's it, purging done. Message in a bottle (blog) sent! I could share some poems I've written here about how tides are turning in my heart, about mer-men and following sirensongs into deep water, rose-coloured evenings and sun-steeped states, but that would be a bit too premature for the perfectionist 'a poem is never finished, only abandoned' me... But watch this space! Here's something else instead -
Clouds float by on a summer sky
I hop scotch over to you.
Rainbows arch from ground to gold
I climb over to you.
Thunder grumbles, lightning tumbles
And I bounce over to you.
Sun beams back and catches me
over at you.
PS/ I'd also like to share a song by one of my favourite bands The Cure to soundtrack my post! 'Sirensong' captures the dreamy, floaty, swept-away essence of summer love exactly. The melody will sweep you out to sea, all bobbing-wave like and the lyrics glint gold like sun in your mind. (Or so I think anyway....) Could be a mermaid's lullaby or indeed a real siren song... check it out here
*Images taken from www.weheartit.com