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Poems, fine wines, songs and a 'thing called love'

Larry French, Community Voices Columnist • Feb 12, 2019 at 7:00 AM

“Love is not consolation. It is light — Friedrich Nietzsche

Ah, sweet mystery of love, that wonderful feeling that transcends all time and has no boundaries or limits, and is likened unto one’s soul. It’s there, without explanation.

This Thursday, we honor the life of the patron saint, St. Valentine, and set aside a day to celebrate love.

But why do we set aside just one day when love should be celebrated and observed every day of every year? Love is for all times and for all eternity.

We should liken love unto a birthday — celebrate the day — but celebrate the life, too. Surely, love and life are one in the same.

Love is for families, spouses, children, grandchildren, sweethearts, lovers, partners and friends and must be shared.

‘Tis as Robert Browning said, “Take away love and our earth is a tomb.”

Love should not be squandered or sequestered, but like the fruit of life itself — be squeezed — and experienced like a fine wine.

In fact, love is a fine wine, but even lovelier when accompanied by music, candlelight, poetry and romantic sayings. Experiencing love without these absolutes is similar to experiencing a glorious sunrise from one’s basement.

Ralph Waldo Emerson described love as “A delicious torment,” but it was Robert Frost who said, “Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” Everyone has that desire to be desired, to love and be loved. Love is the natural order of the human spirit, and “Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”

In addition, sometimes love songs accompany those fairy tales. The ones we fell in love to. Remember? The ones whose melodies will last forever.

Maybe it was the smooth silky voice of Lou Rawls singing, “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” or Styx singing “Lady.”

Then again, perhaps it was Waylon Jennings singing “Amanda,” Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” or even Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” The selections are endless, just like love.

While Valentine’s Day may indeed be a time for Hallmark, florists and candy makers to celebrate their profits, love is much more than cards, roses and chocolates. Love is about the roses in your life and its sweet delectable tastes.

Of course, there are times when those thorns from our roses seem to disregard love, and our chocolate tastes bitter.

Yes, love can also hurt. We shed tears about love and question why. Nevertheless, we survive and go on to greater and higher loves. Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” always comes to mind during these moments.

However, what about the mystery of love at first sight? Is it possible or is it infatuation, or just wishful thinking?

While it’s a question worth pondering, and no doubt one very few people have an answer for, perhaps there is that possibility.

Sure, we all write silly poems or sayings to those we love, thinking how eloquent they sound, even if they are silly. It doesn’t matter what’s written, as long as it comes from within.

For those of you who are in love — congratulations, because life “is” grand.

Nevertheless, for those of you waiting to fall in love, allow me the liberty to paraphrase D.H. Lawrence. “I am in love — and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a person. I tell you, find someone you can fall in love with. Do it. Let yourself fall in love. If you have not done so already, you are wasting your life.”

And should you perchance encounter someone who has made a difference in your life — stop and say, “I love you” — and don’t forget to embrace them, too. Love is more than mere words. Love demands action.

Love is meant to be shared, not in a carnal sense, but in a sense of want, need and desire. Love is for the young and old alike. Never outgrown or outdated.

The Talmud says, “Where love is, no room is too small.”

Is it possible there’s some madness to this mystery called love?

Ah, perhaps it’s as Nietzsche said, “There is always some madness in love. But there is also some reason in madness.”

Larry French lives in Butler. He is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the Society of Professional Journalists and teaches composition and literature at East Tennessee State University. You may reach him at [email protected]

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