Accidental Answer to “What Is Love?”

After reading Pablo Neruda’s poem about love, I found many questions in my mind. I was confused about the meaning of love, because what I had heard and read about love was completely different from what Neruda had described in his poem. As a result of my confusion, I started surfing net to find the true and appealing meaning that can persuade me. I could not find anything to convince me. During this bewilderment, I opened my Facebook to have a break. After only a few minutes I received a message in my Facebook which surprised me. It was the thing that I was looking for, a poem about love! It was by Rumi (the famous persian poet1207-1273)! I could not believe my eyes! That accident made me look for the page that had sent the message. There, I found a beautiful video that encouraged me to share both the poem and the video.

Here you are the mesmerizing poem from a poet who was in love so that everything could remind him his dear beloved and would make him dance and sing. However, his beloved was not a human body but he was God.

Love is longing and longing, the pain of being parted;
No illness is rich enough for the distress of the heart,
A lover’s lament surpasses all other cries of pain.
Love is the royal threshold to God’s mystery.
The carnival of small affections and polite attachments
Which litter and consume our passing time
Is no match to Love which pulses behind this play.
It’s easy to talk endlessly about Love,
To live Love is to be seized by joy and bewilderment;
Love is not clear-minded, busy with images and argument.
Language is too precocious, too impudent, too sane
To stop the molten lava of Love which churns the blood,
This practicing energy burns the tongue to silence;
The knowing pen is disabled, servile paper
Shrivels in the fire of Love. Bald reason too is an ass
Explaining Love, deceived by spoilt lucidity.
Love is dangerous offering no consolation,

Only those who are ravaged by Love know Love,
The sun alone unveils the sun to those who have
The sense to receive the senseless and not turn away.
Cavernous shadows need the light to play but light
And light alone can lead you to the light alone.
Material shadows weigh down your vision with dross,
But the rising sun splits the ashen moon in empty half.
The outer sun is our daily miracle in timely
Birth and death, the inner sun
Dazzles the inner eye in a timeless space.
Our daily sun is but a working star in a galaxy of stars,
Our inner sun is One, the dancing nuance of eternal light.
You must be set alight by the inner sun,
You have to live your Love or else
You’ll only end in words.

~Mevlana Rumi

Translated by Raficq Abdulla

Response to “I like it when you are quite”

Pablo Neruda in “I like it when you’re quiet” had expressed the pain, his heart is facing. The silence of his beloved and the coldness in their relationship is hurting him a lot. Though he says he likes it, the twinge behind this “like” is crystal clear. With the pace of time, after giving her all his heart and body to her, the girl is now trying to ignore the poet. The way he says, though the girl is near, her silence makes him feel as if she is dead, is really heart breaking.
Getting to read this poem has highly influenced me. A true love is never measured in physical distance. Sometimes, even though two lovers are physically near they are apart from each other and sometimes they are closest to each others’ heart even in the presence of miles of distances in between them. While reading this poem I reminisce about my friend and his girlfriend. The boy is in abroad and it has been 4 years of their love story. When I look their relation, I wonder if they will be together forever or not. Having trust, respect, understanding and care for each other is must in any relationship. But in this poem I what I feel is that only the poet is concerned about the happiness of his beloved. He is the only one to care, understand and compromise. Whereas, for girl it seems that nothing matters to her. If I were in the place of the poet, I would leave the girl. I would be living happily, thinking that I love someone truly but giving value to others sacrificing own value is something I would have never done. From my point of view, the situation of poet is really pathetic.
The poet writes in his poem that a single word or a simple smile of his girl is enough for him to be happy as they signify the presence of the girl in this world. Strongly disagreeing with this point, what I want to say is that these kinds of feelings seem good only in words. If being practical, it’s not possible, at least for me to live just by looking my beloved’s face and hearing his words regardless of his ignorance and irresponsibility towards our relationship .But I want to ask one question to all those who are reading this writing and that is- Are you ready and strong enough to live your life by just being happy in your beloved’s smile and his single word which signify his presence in this world even though if he doesn’t value your feelings and care for you?

Love: Physical or Spiritual?

I’m in the state of dilemma whether to float with the emotional changes of the poet of the love poems, or to find fault in his attitude towards his wife. It is obvious for the readers to discover that Pablo Neruda in the poem, “Body of Woman” has equated love with his physical satisfaction. He gives every minute details of his wife’s physique. In contrast, he isn’t able to present his spiritual attachment to her. I wonder why the poet related his love to physical satisfaction. This is unlike to our Eastern belief that love directly alludes to sex. For us, love is the purest and selfless feeling aroused with respect, care, trust, and honesty. It is not necessarily important that the physical relationship must be maintained with the one we love. I find it ridiculous to equate love with sex.

In the poem “I like it when you’re quiet”, I felt like I’m given a harsh blow by my spouse. The poet has no worry when his wife ignores him. He is ok with the cold gap they have on their relationship. I think it’s the result of equating love with sex in his earlier stage of life. How can one live a life without any spiritual attachment? Is physical satisfaction enough to define love? No doubt, physical satisfaction is human necessity and inevitable truth. I think the poem would have been more pleasing for me if the poet had expressed his respect, care, and affection for his wife in some lines.

Reading these poems by Paulo Neruda, I remembered the poem “She was a Phantom of Delight” by William Wordsworth. Unlike Neruda, Wordsworth in his poem describes how he adores his wife in the same manner before marriage, after marriage, and at his old age. For Wordsworth, his wife is more than a spouse who warns, comforts, and commands him. She is always peaceful with angelic light. Without the details of physical love, Wordsworth has successfully shown his spiritual bond with his wife and the same passion for her throughout his life time. His relationship is inspiring for his readers.

Thus, I want your view, what you think about Neruda’s poems? Do you too equate love with physical gain? Or you believe in spiritual connection of two souls? What strikes your mind when the word LOVE jingles on your ear? Do you think it a happy ending with you and your spouse being indifferent to one another’s life?