Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First-and-Last Lines

Susan, here, and already excited about reading the results of this challenge which asks:

What is Love?

Love Park,  Philadelphia, AttributionNoncommercial by ecospc

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day in the USA, in South Africa, and other places that have been touched by European cultures.  Putting aside the religious and the commercial histories of the day, I ask you simply, what is love?

My favorite definition of romantic love:

 “. . . two solitudes protect and border and greet each other,” 

comes from Rainer Marie Rilke’s 7th letter in Letters to a Young Poet.  Rilke sees young love as flawed in its groping.  He says in this letter that each love is a learning ground for the next until this respectful place is discovered. 


In contrast, some of you know (or are) couples who, as Rosalind says in Shakespeare’s As you Like it:

Some of our parents have loved each other for decades, some have never loved.  I myself am a hermit whose deepest love—one with whom I shared solitude and theatre and reading aloud—died too soon.  I celebrate all kinds of love: love present and absent, love of a partner, love of parents, children, friends, words, work, open sky and so many things that you and I speak of in and out of poetry.

Eternal Love Locks, Pont de l’Archevêché,  photo by Susan

Today, I ask you to write about an event that clarified for you what love is.   

But wait!  

I did not forget about “First and Last Lines”!  
Here is one more example:

Jane Austin’s romantic comedy of manners, Pride and Prejudice, begins with an assertion about romance and ends with a success story:

First Line:  It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Last Line:  With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.

C. E. Brock illustration for the 1895 edition of Jane Austen's  Pride and Prejudice 
The first line equates love with economics.  The last line shows a love that overcomes class distinctions and provides room for friendship and gratitude. In between, the individuals destined for each other overcome false pride and social prejudice in a series of events that define true love.  Finally, as in all Austin novels, Elizabeth and Darcy’s love is rewarded with the wealth of contentment.  

Now, the challenge!  

Choose an event to use in a poem, one that answers the question “What is love?”   You may have more than one answer, but choose one focus in your poem.  

Alternative challenges:

Inspired by an illustration in this prompt—include the link
An Inner monologue of characters from literature or film
se the last line from one of your own love poems to start a new poem—link the poem of origin.


Please post the link to your new poem in Mr. Linky, and leave a comment in the Garden.  Take time to read and comment on other poems linked here for love.


the walking man said...

To answer your question Susan--yes I am fine. Anger is a human emotion and well known to me brought about by all I see in the surround about me.
One day I may learn to laugh at ignorance.


I don't normally do these, occasionally a 55 for G-man but prompts and what not I *shrug* just am not good at.

The event that defined one definition of my idea of love is the idea of my death.

Here is one of the ways I defined love a few years ago...this is an unpublished piece.


Love is more
a brilliant fiery star
that was born
before I came to be.

Lasting longer
than a mighty
tall ancient
ever growing tree.
A tree that will always
rise taller as
I grow smaller
and fade away.

Love has grown well
within my lifetimes
broad lasting journey.

Even after darkness
takes me to my death,
Love will still
yet never wither
simply because I have
arrived at the end
of my final breath.

© M Durfee

Ella said...

Wow, going to be difficult to top M Durfee...
Thanks Susan! I love how you cascaded images and dangled your thoughts to inspire ours! :D

I need more coffee-one event came to mind. I probably will go with my first thought~

Happy Wednesday!!! <3

Gloria Baker said...

Still Im not sure what is really love! Have some ideas of course, but romantic love is difficult,
I understand more the love like a all to all we love!

Marian said...

Susan, is there a first and last line part to this challenge that i'm missing? do i just need more coffee? well, it's a given that i need more coffee. but still, please help a girl out.

LLM Calling said...

great prompt Susan, my poem is about my afternoon and the way I've been shown love

Marian said...

never mind, i figured it out and managed to link my first and last lines. hope this works for you, Susan. :)

Scarlet said...

I love the prompt Susan ~

Way to go Mark with the first response ~

I will try my best to write for this ~


Susan said...

Hello Toads! I'll be in and out in for an hour and then out until this evening when I shall read all. So far, so good! I have written more than one poem myself and had to choose . . .

M.Durfee, Thank you for stopping in and enriching my life today with the "forever love" and ever growing tree . . .

Ella, why even try to top a tree like that? I look forward to your take on this prompt that has so many entry points!

Gloria, I think living may be a prerequisite to understanding. I'll be withholding my final statement until at least death!

Marian, You may work off the Jane Austin first and last line I give here, or work again with one of your own poems. In general, The FIRST and LAST LINE PROMPT will at times address your own poems and quite often those of other writers. In March, I have a Charles Dickens one coming up for your pleasure.
After that I take a form and first line from "Simile" by M.Scott Momaday. The prompt will vary. Thank you for the question which may echo the questions of others.

Susan said...

PS to Marian: You anticipate--not echo--the questions! Thank you!

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is the perfect prompt for the day before Valentine's. Thank you, Susan. I shall ponder your question, but my reply may only arrive after Valentine's because I'm tied up with work commitments until the weekend.

Fireblossom said...

Jane Austen wrote novels, not poetry, so is the challenge for short fiction, then? Cos I can do that, I'm just not clear. *huddles behind Marian*

Helen said...

I have written the truth ... all on a Wednesday morning!! That's what love's about!

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks Susan for the challenge. My husband and I had decided to not buy anything for Valentine's day, but to write what was in our hearts. I will share this piece with him.

Susan said...

What amazing love!

Fireblossom said...

Well, I took the safe route and used one of the images for my love poem. I hope it suits. Thanks for your hard work putting together this challenge for us, Susan.

Susan said...

It's after midnight here, so Happy VD, toads! I'm packing a gift for a friend born on that day, and then going to bed. I'll be back tomorrow afternoon. Hope you wake into a very good day.

Misky said...

A lovely prompt. Thank you!

Margaret said...

I found this impossible to write to. Started numerous times... I will swing around this weekend to see what everyone came up with.

Anonymous said...

My cupboard has been very bare, but came up with something on the silly side. thanks much, Susan. k.

Hannah said...

Susan!! Thank you and my sincere apologies for arriving SO late. ♥