Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love The One You Are With (Part Two)

Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate the cause of love I am passing this blog off to Herr Goethe. But before I do I must clarify that I don’t mean LOoooooVE with a heady drawl, but the unconditional kind instead, the kind that lights up the world with understanding and compassion; beauty and joy. Now I am not a Christian by practice, more prone to Animism if anything, but I am rather fond of some of the old Christian poets and their descriptions of spiritual love. Like this one in Faust. It is near the end of the poem (part two) and Mephistopheles (a rather delightful rogue) is standing over the grave of Faust (a rather obnoxious sod) trying to maintain his ownership of the latter’s soul. Although Faust sold his soul to the devil years before Mephistopheles knows he still has to fight for it to the bitter end with the angels.

As Mephistopheles complains:

There lies the body: should the soul seek flight
I’ll show him straight the bond, the blood-writ scroll;
But nowadays too oft the devil’s right
Is thwarted by new means to save the soul.
So, as Faust’s soul starts to rise from the grave, the heavenly angels start strewing roses at Mephistopheles and his crew of hapless demons. The demons cannot bear the “love” and desert their post but Mephistopheles endures, struggling to beat off the hovering roses.

I burn, head, heart, and spleen, a flaming evil,
This is an element of super-devil,
More sharp and keen than hell’s own fire….
Us spirits you call damned, and look askance.
Witch-masters, you, par excellence;
For man and a maid you lead astray. —
What an adventure curst and dire!
Is this love’s elemental game?...
He starts to falter as love enters his dark soul and, somewhat off-balance, begins to see the angels in a more lewd light:

With you, tall youth, I’d choose in love to fall,
This parson-visage suits you not at all,
Then give a wonton loving look, just one.
You could with decency appear more nude,
The surplice vaunts too much the acolyte —
And now they turn, and from behind are viewed —
Ah, how the rascals stir the appetite.
Until he finally pulls himself together and repels the love while admitting defeat as the angels win the right to Faust’s soul.

Sigh… aint love grand? Topples the bad guy every time. So, Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. And, in praise to this thing called love, let us open our hearts to angel (or whoever) strewn roses and, once again, invoke my more earthly hero, Stephen Stills, and love the one you are with.

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