BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
I awoke today with this poem on my mind. Having pondered the philosophy of love many times, this poem brings about as good an answer as any. The question of course being, why love? I used to think being in love was all that mattered and while I have experienced many different kinds of love, real love had always managed to escape me. So I thought love was an delusion. Something we create in our minds to make us feel good, something we think we need like a shiny new toy. As time went on and love came and went I realized I had never really been in love. Not really. Certainly not in the way I saw it in the movies. In films, love transcends. It makes you do things, always good things, someone wants to be there and they want to help and provide for you and most importantly they want you to love them.
But that isn’t real love. Real love is messy. Real love is complicated and the person annoys you, usually because they know you so well. Real love is hard. It makes you do good and bad things. It makes you say good and bad things. It makes you remember the pain you felt when someone didn’t love you the way they should. It makes you scared and it makes you want to hurt it and run away from it. But can we really escape the grasp of love? We are all connected in this common delusion. The desire to form a pair. The desire to know any love than none at all.
Real love is beautiful. It is noticing the beauty of things around you where loneliness can render you blind. It is new experiences and new ideas. It is the feeling of friendship. It will keep you grounded or be a partner in crime. It is the boy standing by his car, waiting for you, when you didn’t think he knew you existed. It is the girl who takes your hand in hers when you thought you were friend zoned. Real love will surprise you. Often occurring when least expected. Typically when we have given up.
Real love is to finally find a connection. A thing that is more precious than any shiny new toy. Real love is to find a match. As Shelley reminds us, nothing in the world is single. Everything has a partner. So why love?