The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Shall I Compare Thee?

by Denis Taillefer

When invited to guest blog on the topic of luuv, my first thought was, 'Hey, thanks,' followed by, 'On what? I don't know what to say!' Love is such an obscure word, isn't it? Throughout history philosophers have debated the subject and prophets spoken of its wondrous hold. From Plato to Gibran, The Beatles to the B52s. My earliest recollection of exquisite words that praised love, was Shakespeare's 18th sonnet:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

When in eternal lines to time thou owest;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Aaah. When writing this lovely sonnet, Shakespeare was no doubt in the early stages of a relationship, smitten and overcome with passion and sexual desire. We've all been there, haven't we?

Proof that the great thinkers and poets of the past have failed in defining love is in the current usage of the word:

I love my new car!

or: Let us make love, my darling. And how much for a preferred customer, my lovely?

or: I'd absolutely love a smoke right about now.

But on this, the month of luuv, we are no doubt speaking of Shakespeare's love, the kind he shows in his poem for a young girl, or perhaps a boy. So why am I so cynical on the subject? Is it my own inability to define the word? Maybe.

Or is my problem the romantic idea that for each of us there is someone who is ours, our true love, and that one day we may be united if the stars are aligned just so? Given a myriad of circumstances and opportunities, each of us could surely have been smitten by a whole cast of candidates, n'est-ce pas? And does this notion cheapen love? I don't think so, but it does remind me that the capacity for 'loving' more than one person is certainly within us. (pipe in Lennon's Imagine, hereā€¦)

And less you accuse me of being an idealist, or a polygamist, or an egghead for using the word less, and egghead, I say to you don't forget irreverent, and luuv curmudgeon, as this is my version of Shakespeare's sonnet, say, twenty years into his affair, on a not so blissful day:

Shall I compare thee to a moonlit sky?
Thou art more brightly and immeasurable.
And speaking of immeasurable,
Thou maketh a better door than a window,
For thine astral delight is eclipsing the television.

I must say I do recognize the passion and exuberance associated with love. But it's so fleeting, and maybe my problem is that I'm a little jealous, and would like to bathe in it more often. Perhaps the entries that I'll read here, on this, the month of luuv, will help rekindle those feelings. And if you should bump into Cupid, tell him not to be such a stranger, will you?


Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I love your 'remix' of Shakespeare's sonnet, Denis!

Thu Feb 08, 04:16:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So do I, AT. "Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon," or any other moon for that matter.

You do remind me, as Sara Teasdale said, "Life has loveliness to sell" although I promise not to 'love' my lasagne today.

Diane, The Maple Room.

Thu Feb 08, 05:49:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

That's a funny cartoon! Great to see you back here, Denis.

Thu Feb 08, 07:42:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, DuhKnee!

your friend,

Thu Feb 08, 08:38:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

You are so right about "love" being used for anything and everything, Denis. It's turned "like" into a put down. Thanks for joining us for the month.

Thu Feb 08, 08:46:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Denis Taillefer said...

Hi all, thanks for the invite. And thanks for swinging by, Kath!

I've been enjoying reading the blog entries and am looking forward to reading more. And what a great idea of having a theme and inviting guests. I hope you do it again, soon! Cheers.

Thu Feb 08, 11:28:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Joseph Young said...

Great one, Denis! Funny, too. Only thing I've figured out, and not at all well, is the way to keep yourself full and not sucking in every bit of affection about you like some kind of luuv wastrel (like me) is to constantly keep the line flowing outwards. So easy to forget.

Fri Feb 09, 10:01:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Denis Taillefer said...

Very wise words, Joe. Thanks!

Fri Feb 09, 04:36:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa McMann said...

Funny! Love it, Denis.

Sat Feb 10, 11:59:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Patricia said...

aghaghgh...I thought I posted!!! HA!! anyway you original canadian collective writer that we miss dearly...this is great, stop by more often..xoxo I love this, sort a swept me off my feet..xoxoxo

Sat Feb 10, 01:17:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Sean said...


Sudden multiple four
rim shot cream leaks
musical be de bop;
creamed orgy bleep.


Wed Feb 14, 10:02:00 am GMT-5  

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