“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.” Plato
Ah, yes. I remember it well: an overflowing heart, mates tired and bored of one’s incessant rambling on about the creature one desires above all others; the impulse to turn to a book and record your devotion there because, hang it all, no one else will listen.
One would make oneself a willow cabin at the Beloved’s gate, and call upon their name within the house; write loyal cantons of contemnéd love, and sing them loud, even in the dead of night.
Or: if the Borough’s Health and Safety Team were out enforcing the silence and serenity of the neighbourhood, one would pull out a little green-bound book and scribble furiously to the winds: of love, and melancholy cloaks of gold and ships of dreams, half-dream, half nightmare.
For some reason, I have kept them all these years. Poems typed on rice- thin copy paper using a 1950s imperial typewriter: time-warped verse from a post-adolescent for whom words would be flowing for another 70 years, and so were cheap.
I look back unimpressed to the narcissist who sat scribbling long after midnight into the little green book. It would be true to say I have not felt the need to write poetry for 25 years.
When, coincidentally, I appear to be in love once more.
A Celtic man, Reader, because I know you were dying to ask. A man who could -should he choose – simply write you into bed. With one hand behind his back, saved for other dexterous pursuits.
He weaves words like a master word weaver, suspending them in quiet evening air, whispering them, like divine moths, to flutter past your ear or brush your neck. He turns them swiftly and suddenly, dazzling you with surprise; never too many, never too few. He can rant and rail them with fiery eyes at the dead of night and lazy-coax them with a Saturday morning’s slow beginnings. Always measured, always perfectly selected.
A wordsmith’s wordsmith, He is.
So, it is strange that, in the light of all this, I stumbled on the little green book once again. I was curious: would I love my words as I had once, I wondered, or now that regard for its subject had dessicated, would they too be mummified and lifeless?
I was largely disappointed on first read. I was about to throw the poems away, or burn them, or anything, really, to get them out of my hair. It is not pleasant to be reminded of one’s utter self-absorption.
But the Celt intervened. Using words better than I ever could he cajoled, and persuaded, and argued until I turned back into the silly twenty something who had written the blessed things in the first place.
And so that I might share with you, I have come back to them and found a few which, The Celt was quite correct, were worth the saving.
Stranger still, the lines of poetry are writing themselves again. Plato was right: at the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet, and my hand has begun to write like Oliver Stone’s Hand, unaided, independent, of its own volition.
You write? It may be that your lover has been that for years, for decades.
But join me. Celebrate Plato’s words: pick up your pen and write of that creature who has so shaped your life that you can still gaze across the living room at them in very ordinary clothes and experience heart missing a beat. Write once again how they have moved the tectonic plates of your globe, and how the quality of their heart moves you still. Tell them what stands them apart from the rest of the Human race.
For at the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.