How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of syllable?

lily

What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful

Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women mad, glorified the humble, fueled national scandals, bankrupted robber barons, and made mincemeat of kings. How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of syllable? If we search for the source of the word, we find a history vague and confusing, stretching back to the Sanskrit lubhyati (“he desires”). I’m sure the etymology rambles back much farther than that, to a one-syllable word heavy as a heartbeat. Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization, with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days.

by Diane Ackerman (October 7, 1948 – )
from A Natural History of Love, 1994

| More

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.