July 12, 2015
Thinking about love in the context of diminishment continues to challenge me. William Yeats, the great Irish poet, thought about this human conundrum too. He wrote:
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
Yeats catches both the ambiguity and ambivalence that wrap so intricately around love in the changing context of life:
- The safe uncomplicated rest within diminishment
- Love’s many faces viewed in retrospect
- Recognition of both the passion and betrayal inherent in love
- True ambivalence: the reality of loss [“Love fled”] and the relief of diminishment [“murmur a little sadly”]. (Italics added.)
I too am tired and full of sleep this morning. Admittedly, a little sadly, I count love’s losses. But—astonishing discovery—I cannot sum these losses. I am too distracted by the crowd of stars that now appear.
Thinking with you: describing what happens in diminishment is difficult. However, difficult or not, describing what happens is far easier than assessing how meaning emerges through loss.
See you next week.