The Romantic Imperative
It’s never the way that they claim it, this love,
In their stories and movies and songs –
It’s never so epic or urgent or raw,
It’s never so moving or brimming with awe.
It’s never the way that it should be, this love,
And we’re all of us doing it wrong –
They sold us the brand and we snapped up the dream,
We’re dazzled by hope when there’s barely a gleam.
And if we ain’t got it,
It’s too late to spot it,
Cos surely we should’ve exulted by now.
Whatever the weather,
To not be together
Is more than a lover could ever allow.
So still we keep wishing,
And still we keep sighing,
And still we keep fishing,
And swooning, and crying
And even the faithful still feel the desire –
We’re all of us waiting for Cupid to fire.
It’s never the way that we planned it, this love,
In our minds and our hearts and our schemes –
It’s never so civil or timely or neat,
It’s never so gentle or syrupy sweet.
It’s never the way that we practised, this love,
With our patter and perfumes and creams –
It comes on in shivers and rashes and bursts,
It comes on in hungers and gorges and thirsts.
And if we don’t get it,
They’ll make us regret it –
We’ve failed to be human and living our fill.
We’re solo and only –
The crime of the lonely,
That’s punished by keeping us lonelier still.
But on we keep hoping,
And on we keep dreaming,
And on we keep moping,
And recklessly teeming –
And even the loveless are likewise alike,
We’re all of us sure that the lightning will strike.