Shakespeare wrote a number of sonnets about love and they remain some of the most romantic ever written. The bible also has some beautiful verses about the love between a man and a woman and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s, “How do I love thee,” is considered by many to be one of the most romantic poems ever written. These verses have stood the test of time and are still read and shared by those who fall in love.
It got me thinking about how we will be remembered for the way we expressed love. Certainly, thanks to the music industry, there are more songs about love today than all of the poems in recorded history and music is nothing more than poetry put to music. So what are we leaving to the generations to come after us? In a hundred years from now, will they still use some of those songs and verses to express their love for someone?
Let’s take a look at some of the modern expressions of love with which we have been blessed and will leave for future generations.
“She’s a slick nickel she’s right on the money. I wouldn’t give her up for a thousand buckle bunnies”-Brooks and Dunn: Little Miss Honky Tonk
High praise indeed. If you knew what a buckle bunny was, I’m sure you’d be very touched by the sentiment once you got over being compared to a slick nickel, of course.
“When you call my name, I salivate like Pavlov’s dog.” – The Rolling Stones, Bitch
Most love songs are nothing but drivel but this one positively drools. How damp this love affair must be. An extra box of Kleenex would probably serve well under these circumstances.
“You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain, too much love drives a man insane. You broke my will, but what a thrill. Goodness gracious, great balls of fire.” – Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls Of Fire
Goodness gracious indeed. His nerves are shot. His mind is shot. His will is shot and his boys are on fire and will soon be shot. Somebody should just shoot him and put him out of his misery.
“I look at you and wham, I’m head over heels. I guess that love is like a banana peel.” – Elvis Presley, I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell
Love in the produce department at the grocery store. Careful where you step, love can happen anywhere.
“I wanna write on your face with my pretty knife, I wanna toy with your precious life. Want you to know, I want you to know what love is.” – Dead Boys, What Love Is
Now this is seriously intense love. Some might consider it psychopathic but can love ever be anything other than blissful? Well, maybe if there is no cutlery involved.
“I’m talking about the kind of love that’s gonna wash my clothes.” – Little Johnny Taylor, Part-Time Love
Perhaps not as romantic as some but it is definitely pragamatic. There’s no point in getting mushy over dirty underwear and socks. Just tell her you love her and hand over the Tide.
“Yummy, Yummy, Yummy. I got love in my tummy and I feel like a-lovin you.” Ohio Express: Yummy, Yummy, Yummy
Love as it would be expressed by characters on Yo Gabba Gabba or Sesame Street. It makes it easy to understand for those who have difficulty with abstract concepts.
There are lots of others, of course, iTunes is littered with maudlin songs that positively drip with clichés and bad metaphors. There are songs about lost love, unrequited love, angry love, happy love, pure love, impure love and physical love. Lust is always topical.
Don’t misunderstand, I like love and I’m fortunate to be in love with someone who is also in love with me but the word is so badly misused that it almost loses its meaning at times.
We love everything now (except those who don’t agree with us politically, of course). We love ice cream, shoes, this singer, that actor, whatever passes our fancy. We tell people we barely know that we love them. Even performers are constantly telling their audiences how much they love them. They don’t. The love the adulation of their audience and their audience doesn’t love them; it loves the dynamics of that night’s performance.
We have other words for those moments. We have words that include: enjoy, like, appreciate and moved. Love is just a touch more profound than a slick nickel or a buckle bunny, whatever that is. Love is also very difficult to define.
Various dictionaries define love as an intense romantic or sexual attachment for someone while another called it a feeling of warm personal caring for another as in a parent and child. One dictionary gave up trying and simply described love as the most spectacular,indescribable, deep euphoric feeling for someone.
Margaret Atwood described love as that condition where another person’s happiness is essential to your own. (women are probably better at defining this stuff than guys) However it’s defined, love is a universally powerful emotion and one most of us have experienced on many levels throughout our lives. Like most, I don’t really know how to define it either other than to look at Maggie or our children and grandchildren. It is easy to understand the meaning of love without the need for words in those moments.
Still, it won’t keep many from trying to put love into verse. Humanity has been trying for centuries, from before the bible, through Shakespeare, Barrett-Browning, Leonard Cohen and a million other poets and song writers. Most of it will be forgotten because most of it is trite or just plain silly like the verses I quoted above. But some seem to be inspired and the verses go beyond the trivial like this song. It is what I live with Maggie every day.