The idea that lovers and love somehow transcend time,
that physical desire can become spiritual
and lead a pilgrim like Dante to a rose
petaled with light—as old, at least, as Socrates—
physical beauty somehow being a reflection of ideal form,
but what if there is no ideal, what if
we are only mislead by our own easy abstractions
betrayed by words,
confusing the real with the structures of our grammar.
There is that which is beyond reach of words,
touch and tongue, every unique flaw
more precious than any ideal. The particular and unrepeatable
existence is more important than the general, the universal,
her mouth, not any mouth, her eyes, her hair
against her neck. Language abstracts. Every word’s a category.
Abstraction built upon abstractions until the real is lost,
The ideal lover
is not a lover at all. A wilting rose.
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