- Stephen Altman
Love is blind Or maybe not. Maybe love is the lens through which we see people truly. My own opinion, as in most things, is, "It depends." I had to consider the question a bit more rigorously when writing Blues for the Muse, a novel. Was there room in the story for "it depends"?
Friday is scrapbook day around here so I pulled out a lovely sonnet by the late Hayden Carruth. It's simply called "Sonnet #10." You'll know in a minute why I found it pertinent.
You rose from our embrace and the small light spread
like an aureole around you. The long parabola
of neck and shoulder, flank and thigh I saw
permute itself through unfolding and unlimited
minuteness in the movement of your tall tread,
the spine-root swaying, the Picasso-like éclat
of scissoring slender legs. I knew some law
of Being was at work. At one time I had said
that love bestows such values, and so it does,
but the old man in his canto was right and wise:
ubi amor ibi ocullus est.
Always I wanted to give and in wanting was
the poet. A man now, aging, I know the best
of love is not to bestow, but to recognize.
The Latin phrase in line 11 means "Where love is, there is insight."
The painting is Chez le Père Lathuille (1879) by Édouard Manet, at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tournai, Belgium.