Sunday, 14 February 2010

Belief in Love, Brian Pattern, Shakespearean Sonnets and Dreams

So having posted about Amy Clampitt, I ransacked my shelves to find her Collected Works to refresh my memory and ensure it wasn’t playing tricks on me. I wish I could say I had tidy alphabetised shelves of books but alas no. I do keep my poetry books more or less together and then everything else has to fight for and its own space. So I search for Clampitt and find her nestled up to Brian Patten’s Love Poems and as it is Valentine’s Day I will indulge myself briefly

That was my moment of chocolate truffle indulgence, if you bothered to follow the link.

I watched Field of Dreams for the umpteenth time yesterday as it was a cold, wet dark afternoon and it happened to be on TV. I cried as usual and as usual also felt resentful as I dealt with the panda eyes caused by the clash of mascara and sentimentality. I am such a gift to manipulative film directors who can so easily press buttons, I try really hard to repeat the mantra,'I am being manipulated, I am being manipulated' but often give in ifonly to clear the sinus', a good weep can be quite cathartic. However the film did make me ponder about the relationship between love and belief. Belief in the power of things unseen and unproven and the nature of love are not so far apart on that continuum that runs between hell and heaven, lost and found, up and down. By belief I do not mean religious belief but belief in the capacity of the self to put another before self, to want the best for the other and in so doing feel the self become the best and strongest it can be through the existence of the other.

It may not be everyone’s experience of love of a partner but it was mine but I know that there is no point in even attempting a definition but surely to experience love at all it must include some echo, something close to this attempt to put the other first without losing the self. It’s an art to love unconditionally whilst still retaining your own integrity. Who you are being not lessened but increased by the existence and relationship with another. Too much other and not enough I and you become a door-mat, or vice versa, too much I and not enough other and you can be a selfish pig. Usually there is a pendulum swinging between both states. All we can hope for maybe is giving it our best shot so in the end some sort of equilibrium is achieved that allows both to be the best they are with whom they are.

This is theory , the practice of love blows all theories, all suppositions out of the water; it is and always will be what it is; unique, totally different for each person. I have long since given up wondering what makes love happen or work. I have even given up trying to know what it is and how it plays out between people. That it can exist at all is good enough for me.

So again as it is Valentine’s day , here is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 read by an old lady called Eleanor on the sofa with her dog…I could have gone for the unctuous voice of Alan Rickman or the lighter slightly more neurotic twitchy tones of David Tennant but actually Eleanor has no art about her, no actorly skills just the words and that's all Mr Shakespeare ever needed.

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