Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is Not Love Which Alters

Oh, I still remember the thrill of young love.  I remember the fluttering in my heart.  I remember the thrill of a phone call.  I remember the sweet anticipation of just seeing him.  Walt Whitman captures that feeling so well.

                                                                     Calamus No. 43
By Walt Whitman

O YOU whom I often and silently come where you
     are, that I may be with you,
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the
     same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your
     sake is playing within me.

But having been with my Valentine for 28 years, some of the newness has worn off just a little.  The fluttering is still there though, and the thrill, and the anticipation, and the electric fire.  But they now represent  the peace of knowing that he WILL call, and he WILL come home, and we WILL spend time together.  Lots of time.

What is missing is the anxiety.  And I certainly don't miss that!  The doubt is gone.  The insecurity is gone.  In its place is the certainty and reassurance of a long term commitment. 
My favorite love poem, then, is not about the thrills of new love.  It is about the serenity of knowing that love is here to stay.  Real love will weather the storms, to be found just as solid and lasting as ever.  It will turn a blind eye to faults, and the inevitable fading of youth. 

Sonnet No. 116
By William Shakespeare

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:
Oh, 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 taken.
Love is 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 and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Happy Valentine's Day to my eternal Valentine.  The one that is always there.  The one that overlooks the impediments.  We may not be the picture of young love; but we are definitely the picture of real love.


Nancy said...

Amen to all you said, we will be married 43 years in April. It's a good feeling to be together!

Laura said...

That post melted my heart! Loved it!! Happy Valentine's Day!

sulekkha said...

Ardith, loved your beautiful post on real love, I liked, "the certainty and reassurance of a long term commitment." Thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

That is also my favorite love poem. It's so true. Thanks for sharing. It will be 29 years this June for us.