I just finished watching an indie romance flick (as I'm sitting here for the umpteenth time working another 16 hour day) that has reminded me of a John Donne poem that, for me, encapsulates love and romance the way I've always imagined "true love" to be. The poem ("The Sun Rising") goes:
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 school-boys 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.
Thy beams so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou think ?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left'st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, "All here in one bed lay."
She's all states, and all princes I ;
Nothing else is ;
Princes do but play us ; compared to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus ;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.
Donne has to be one of my favorite poets for that which he is most famous for: his metaphysical conceits. Since I began writing a long, long time ago - most of which is just a bunch of nonsense - I've always preferred to speak in metaphor, to say what I want to say without really saying it all. It's a way to communicate how I feel without ever having to take ownership of those feelings. Because to take ownership of those feelings is to make myself accountable for them, and suddenly I have to answer to people I care not to for feelings that cannot be helped.
Consider it a consequence of displacement. Or a consequence of intravenous criticism. Or, to use a modified term from Adrienne Rich, a consequence of schizophrenic disequilibrium. You find stability in the things around you, NOT the things inside you. Thus, you have metaphor.
Anyway, the movie is "Before Sunset" with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. I find Ethan Hawke's character to be annoyingly facetious, but Julie Delpy is fantastic. And what I love most about the movie is what the characters do not say as their story develops. Here is the trailer: