The Irony of Love
Irony is a literary or rhetorical device.
The essayist Henry Watson Fowler wrote:
“any definition of irony
—though hundreds might be given,
and very few of them would be accepted—
must include this,
that the surface meaning
and the underlying meaning of
what is said are not the same.'
He left out that any definition of
Irony must include that it is cruel.
I never understood
The meaning of irony
Or how cruel it can be,
Until you told me,
That though you may love me,
You find it difficult to
Hear the words
“I love you” from me.
You see, some three years ago
You jokingly said
'I love you' to me,
And I begged you
Never to utter those words again.
Not because I did not want to hear them,
But because they were difficult for me.
They carried heart-felt consequences
That I did not want to face.
So, I shut out my heart and followed my head.
And in life filled with so many regrets,
It was the biggest mistake I ever made.
After some thousand days have past,
You uttered the same
Imprudent sentiment to me.
This sentiment is the definition of irony –
The surface meaning
And underlying meaning are not the same.
Because although I asked you not to say
“I love you”,
It is all I wanted to hear.
That now that heaven has at last
Blessed, cursed me with
Clarity of the heart,
And I want to say what I mean
With no different underlying sentiment,
You tell me you do not
Want to hear these words from me.
But the most ironic and cruelest part,
If you make the same mistake I made
And keep from me what is within your heart.
Hal Caufield's Other Poems
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