Let me not to the scientists studying love
Concede authority—love is not yours,
To alter or reduce the scope thereof,
Or tend with the specimens in your drawers
O no! It is a never-fixed mark
That brings forth tempests, in chaotic fashion
It lives and dies by show or want of spark;
Its worth is known and measured by our passion.
Love’s not its parts, though hearts and even brains
Are called upon, love’s details to depict;
Love, explored in shards across domains,
Too often its description will restrict.
If this be error, prov’d to be untrue
It never will survive the peer review
Apologies to Will, of course. Short rant, after the jump.
Serves me right. I have written before* about reductionist approaches to studying whole-person phenomena like love. Seems every year there’s a half dozen articles about how love is this chemical or that, this evolutionary strategy or that, this illusion or that. So I write this year’s sonnet, and cast about for one of the many such examples that must surely exist.
And I don’t see any.
Worse than that, there’s an article on NPR’s site on actual real poetry for valentines day–not Hallmark verse, not the silly stuff I write, but real poetry by real poets. So it appears that this is the year when reductionism has not come out to play.
But my verse was finished, and I didn’t want to wait a year. So if you see the obligatory “love is the chemical found in chocolates and red wine” or “this pill mimics what happens in the brain when you fall in love” articles, let me know in the comments. It will make me feel much better.