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  • Stephen Altman

"Where love is, there is insight."

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.

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