On love poems

WH Auden once wrote:

The girl whose boyfriend starts writing her love poems should be on her guard. Perhaps he really does love her, but one thing is certain: while he was writing his poems he was not thinking of her but of his own feelings about her and that is suspicious. Let her remember St Augustine’s confession of his feelings after the death of someone he loved very much: “I would rather have been deprived of my friend than of my grief.”

I get this feeling about personal bloggers who bare their passions on their blogs as well: their affection may matter more to them than the object of their affections, and if they write about breaking-up, it is the feeling of loss that is important, and not the loss itself, which shall seem trivial when the next target comes along.

But then, it could be argued that a boyfriend who sends you love poems is better than a boyfriend who doesn’t know what poetry is, and whose idea of romance is running his elbow by your side in a cinema hall, and caressing your soft arm mistaking it for something else. Of course, poets also do that, but at least they can put a sheen to it:

It was your arm, my love, that I touched in the dark
I won’t make this mistake in the park.

(Link via PrufrockTwo.)