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(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

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Love, What Is Love

LOVE - what is love? A great and aching heart;
Wrung hands; and silence; and a long despair.
Life - what is life? Upon a moorland bare
To see love coming and see love depart.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Read poems about / on: despair, silence, love, life, heart

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  • Elena Sandu (4/15/2014 7:51:00 PM)

    Beautiful poem, good point of view, food for thought and wonders, I think love could be so much more than silence and despair. Suppose love never goes away from one's heart, then, what is life? Can love bring a lot of pain yes, but maybe through such pain we get to learn of the true beauty, true meaning of life, the freedom given by true love?

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  • Inas Essa (4/15/2014 11:48:00 AM)

    Great poem and to the point.

  • Michelle Claus (4/15/2014 10:17:00 AM)

    When I read this poem, I feel despondent. Love, in this telling, is elusive for the poet. Bummer.

  • Meshack Bankole (4/15/2013 5:05:00 PM)

    Good poetic definition of life & love. Nice art by louis

  • Carlos Echeverria (4/15/2013 10:28:00 AM)

    Love and life are one- fleeting, arduous.

  • Hardik Vaidya (4/15/2013 5:02:00 AM)

    Robert Louis Stevenson died when he was 44. I find this poem to be a brilliant composition. I find this poem to be dwelling on one specific aspect of realisation of love. It may not be the road for all. Few can walk this road, and no one chooses this fork in the T of their lives. But the fortunate few who are blessed to walk it see a dimension of love which is quite unique. Robert Louis Stevensen after reading this poem of his, leaves my mind with no doubt was one such fortunate individual. Look at the choice of words. Great heart. The word great is a sublime word, and is used with exquisite sensitivity. So is the word Ache. To the English speaking world especially whose mother tounges happen to be English, this should strike first shot, he did not use the word pain. Its Ache. Its Hindi equivalent would be Tees. The hands are wrung, the word wrung has a visual stringing appeal to it. Love comes and love departs. He hasn't used the word goes. Depart is a deep word. Souls depart. People come, people leave, greatness comes and greatness departs. You stand immersed, yet helpless, as a passenger on a platform, seeing whom you distance into infinity, not necessarily death. Love remains, but the whole experience of understanding its roots and its fabric, brings forth the title of the poem, What is Love. Quad Erat Demonstratum.

  • Veeraiyah Subbulakshmi (4/15/2012 11:52:00 PM)

    Is it love or an affair? Robert, You had written a short poem to show the love derived through an affair is always short.

  • Veeraiyah Subbulakshmi (4/15/2012 11:38:00 PM)

    Is it love or an affair! ! Robert of Edinburgh, You lived in a castle city and your city was mesmeric to me, when I stood in front of the kilometer long artistic caste! Whether I like your wrong definition of love or not, I like and hate Edinburgh for some personal reason..May your soul find the true love, as we, Indians have found in every other relationships, not only conjugally..

  • Larry Stevens (4/15/2012 9:58:00 PM)

    Short and to the point.

    Thanks for shareing

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (4/15/2012 10:22:00 AM)

    Love is a very complicated word to define its real meaning, physical and metaphysical. Rather passion is very clear to expose. But LOVE...very much hard to break its riddling code. If we try to illustrate its meaning by a different way, we will see, love demands the offering, it can't bear the exchange. If you are ready to unconditionally offer yourself, you will get the meaning but if you expect something you will be in dark, will defeat as poet says shamelessly a long despair which is supported by the last line. In one sense, poet is correct because man can not give anything without expecting the exchange, if not loudly, at least in subconscious. And here despair spreads its web to make one dull.....So honest the confession poet tried to keep in words.

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