A poetymology of love (part one)

For my first poetymology post (find out what this means here), I’m going to jump in at the deep end and start with the not-at-all-complicated subject of love. I’m calling this post “part one” because it’s inevitable I’ll return to the subject at some point; it’s so multi-faceted that it would be impossible to cover in just one attempt.

As a child, I wrote about love based on my only frame of reference; how I felt about my family/friends/pets, what I had read in books and seen in movies, and what other people (young and old) had told me. As a result, these were my rather trite thoughts about love:


I wrote this poem aged 12, having never had a boyfriend but with many 15-certificate rom-coms, Point Romance books and issues of Sugar/Mizz/J-17 magazines (I’m showing my age now!) under my beltI think these influences may be the reason for the lines about the course of love never running smooth and going “from depression to ecstasy”; most of the teenage protagonists I encountered thought they would die if the object of their affection didn’t return their feelings, then found themselves on cloud nine when it all worked out in the end.

It goes without saying that over 20 years later, my thoughts about love are much more complex (though I think the first two lines of my childhood poem still hold up!). I’ve experienced infatuation, unrequited love and, finally, true love; I’m married to the best person I’ve ever met, who has changed my view of love completely and continues to teach me about what love means every single day.

Before we met, I had a few short-lived “relationships” (yes, the speechmarks are necessary) which taught me what not to look for in a significant other. There was the guy who would only acknowledge our relationship in private, the guy who pointed out my flaws to his friends, the guy who broke up with me while I was in another country to avoid confrontation, the guy who took me on an expensive date then asked to borrow money from me to pay for it (and never paid me back)… the list goes on. As my mum often says, I kissed a few frogs before I found my Prince Charming.

There were a few nice guys along the way, though; the long-distance internet boyfriend who posted me lovingly-compiled mix tapes (we eventually met and had three fairly awkward IRL dates), a flirtation with a handsome local boy (who tried to impress me by playing love songs on his guitar) the summer before I left for university, and an ill-advised rebound with an ex’s friend, who was kind to me at a time when my self-esteem was in tatters.

When I met my husband, and everything changed, I quickly realised that there’s a good reason someone had to invent a single, short, all-encompassing word to convey a depth of feeling that is difficult to properly describe. Saying “I love you” to someone can mean so many things, which was my inspiration for the poem below.

If I had to choose just one thing that love means to me, it would be acceptance; the wrong type of love makes you question who you are, but the right type of love celebrates who you are and everything that makes you you.

I could go on (and on, and on…!) but to avoid this post becoming too saccharine, I’ll conclude it here with a new poem about love. I hope you can relate to it and will revisit my blog again soon for more poems and stories on other subjects.



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