ARTICLES

Dull Sublunary Lovers’ Love

venusWe shall kick off with LOVE as its the most ubiquitous subject in the collective Arts-literary,fine, dramatic etc.  I wrote my first love poem aged 11, in boarding school with a torch (flashlight for my American friends) after ‘lights out’ and it was only slightly awful (as opposed to totally). It was a predictable saccharine concoction of simple, yielding words and you can bet your bottom dollar it rhymed. No free verse for me, Oh no honey! This baby rhymed so hard it bled the formulaic syllables.Through the years I’ve developed a wariness of love discourse in the Arts. I remember going to an exhibition with that theme at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery a couple of years back whilst still at university and leaving having only gleaned the answer to ‘how many Cupid statues and Aphrodite paintings can fit into one room without making me want to scratch my eyes out?’ Patience is a virtue I truly lack when I feel love is presented in a manner I deem overly predictable, sloppy or (heaven forbid it) cheesy. Till today I cannot listen to 90% of old r n b songs without thinking ‘Get the girl or leave the girl but I might retch if you(5 overgrown boys in matching outfits) don’t stop bloody whining about it!’

That said, the theme of love, when done right in Art, leaves me floored, utterly transfixed and sparks go off in my head like the zingy pleasure of the first bite of a mouth full of pomegranate seeds. My favourite love poems are mostly ones infused with realism. I’ve always enjoyed Pablo Neruda’s ‘ If you forget me’ for its almost childlike candour and Shakespeare’s sonnet 130 because it celebrates imperfection in a manner atypical for its time. Also Sandro Boticcelli’s ‘The birth of Venus’ became one of my favourite paintings when I first gaped in awe at it at the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence 2 years ago despite it being a depiction of the roman goddess of love somewhat too whimsical for my usual taste in art.

The title of this blogpost is a reference to John Donne’s ‘A valediction forbidding mourning’ a poem about death in which he distinguishes between a kind of ‘refined love’ with survives even death and the other which he describes as ‘dull sublunary lovers’ love’. The latter is portrayed as inferior because it is fleeting -failing to subsist through absences. Permit me to both oversimplify and decontextualise here. To refined lovers, their love is better than the banal cookie cutter love thats existed since time immemorial and  remains for everyone else now. Their love is fiercer and richer, deeper and truer, rawer and edgier, more uninhibited and less predictable. It will transcend time and reality and death and break socio-economic, racial and religious barriers.

I think fleeting/sublunary love gets more flack than it deserves. Surely it has value too. Where would all our epic Haagen-daz fuelled heartbreaks come from and shamefaced realisations that the hot stuff ‘bad boy’ obsession was actually a demeaning  pointless mind f**k. Temporary love is NEVER dull (if rihanna’s ‘we found love’ video is anything to go by) ….at least not until the parties in ibiza are long gone and you wish there was someone who’s imperfections you’d memorised through decades and could sit in silence, or bitch and moan with, never for a moment wanting to be anywhere else but there with them. Only them…Whilst youre holding eachothers wrinkled hands till the end of time.


A demain!


Ps I’ve kick-started my foray into Dickensian Literature with David Copperfield. its going  a little snail paced however because im always reading something else on the side and currently its a deliciously trashy werewolf trilogy that has temporarily lured away my wandering eyes. I do plan to trudge on with determined fervour, however!
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