The Perfect Love Poem Tutorial
- There’s a place in the Antarctic that scientists refer to straightfaced as the Doldrums.
Are you about to leap into the Aegean, thou blackheart, you dasher of ascots? Do you have the doldrums, a stillness on the sea? Do you wish you could write love poems which magnify your woes? Perhaps looser still with your hibitions? One etymological halo of light, one fox in the snow. Love poetry is about knowing your references. Now all but one citadel is burning…
Will I accept the dedication?—my goodness! These are just the working notes for part of an impression of my acceptance, my dear, which you may not term a confession. But I can’t find anything in the doldrums I recognize—is our encounter macabre—am I the brackish person, the ear of a squid? Either way my ink jets blackly—I’m not hauled out of any river. Island, atrium, I’m floating in the weblog I decry, I’m baptized in barnyards high and dry, or as Kasey says, things get completely butch
The poetic function is non-sequitorial: an awareness-of-the-message-for-its-own sake. What’s to be communicated there, my little ear lobe? The phatic function is just asserting that language is really there, “a profuse exchange of ritualized formulas…with the mere purport of prolonging communication.”1 Birds are phatic when they tweet, and so are babies when they gurgle at you. Dorothy Parker has a good example of it:
“Well,” the young man said. “Well!” she said. “Well, here we are,” he said. “Here we are,” she said, “Aren’t we?” “I should say we were,” he said, “Eeyop! Here we are.” “Well!” she said. “Well!” he said, “well.”
Therefore harry and fret yourself as a habit. When bronze is cold comfort in these reindeer games, mouth the words of our national anthem—Love—when it hurts most: don laurels and olive garlands. If you hear a song you like, come and rent a girl or guy. Say, I’m your ponyperson in training. I saw and I approved the gleaming wing.
1 Jakobson, “Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics.”