Saturday, 27 August 2011

Vegetable Love

Have read this poem a few times, but never really read it, until Jacob noticed it and woke me to it's brilliance. We read it on an empty beach in Turkey:

To His Coy Mistress

by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

I was drawn in by it's complete acceptance of love as something as big and as signifiacant as the Ganges, the Bible..

Of Humber would complain, I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.

I read that the flood is referring to Noah a part belonging to the Genesis in the Bible. So, he would love her since ever. And then he adds 'Till the conversion of the Jews' ... most Jews never have converted ... Those two religious references are just a way to tell her that he would love and praise her during a very very long time before getting into any kind of sexual intercourse with her.
Jacob was touched "My vegetable love should grow". A vegetable comes from the vegetative part of a plant, as opposed to a fruit, which comes from the reproductive part." At any rate, their love for one and the other may well grow slowly, for what ever reason; but it is a growing thing: deep, complex and vast.

May all love be vegetable.

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