Entry 600: Love Letters

1. There’s a strange feeling I get when looking over old love letters.

The strangeness is precisely the lack of feeling. I’m not regretful or saddened when reading them, despite the prayers then mumbled to myself, the agonizing over every word, the attempt to influence a heart with some scribblings.

The intensity is gone completely. Amanda shared with me this poem from Neruda recently, and while it describes places I think I’ve been, I can’t help but feel, especially when looking at lines like these:

Like a flower to its perfume, I am bound to my vague memory of
you. I live with pain that is like a wound; if you touch me, you will
do me irreparable harm….

I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to glimpse you in every

Because of you, the heady perfumes of summer pain me; because
of you, I again seek out the signs that precipitate desires: shooting
stars, falling objects.

…I can’t help but feel those lines are conditional. Neruda’s poem has imagery that moves upward – from flowers to statues to climbing vines to things that fall from heaven. He makes a simile between himself and a flower, and yet situates the poem at night finally, making the reader wonder not only how he moved from spring to summer so easily, but why “day” was assumed as the setting the whole time. I never thought of a flower as seeking daylight, but that is indeed what they do.

And now I realize where time really passes one by. Neruda’s love is dreamlike because so much of love depends on the deepest, highest desires.

I suspect the love letters weren’t products of dreams, but attempts to dream.

2. Somebody actually had the courtesy recently to ask me where my political vision/hope for education is going. That made me smile and wonder: I don’t think we ever get a Socratic dialogue where Socrates is asked straight-up, in a good way, what he would like for Athens and his own citizens.

I think it’s safe to say that despite this blog’s flaws, despite my flaws, this is a love letter of sorts. Last time I said that aloud when blogging at another site I was thoroughly castigated. “How dare I assert that my writing is better than that of other bloggers” was the tone – at that site, since we were all blogging as part of a community, clearly all writing was created equal.

Truly worrisome is the fact I’ve made friends that I can’t and couldn’t do much for, despite their immense need in some cases. It may be the case I don’t have the right to write a love letter.

So perhaps this is just an attempt, once again. Dreams may only be understood when achieved.


  1. “I suspect the love letters weren’t products of dreams, but attempts to dream.”

    Coming from probably the extreme opposite approach (intuitive/gut reaction vs. educated analysis), I have to agree. Feels a little trite. Maybe it takes having a broken heart to be able to siphon out the real stuff from the contrived. I’m convinced there are love letters out there that can elicit exquisite emotion, on a pandemic level. There have to be…

  2. I’m really interested by your link here of eros and the lust for knowledge- I often wonder about that association in Plato. Its an interesting idea- when you say you feel a love for knowledge or are writing love letters to it- do you have in mind a singular entity- a logos or sophia to which you address that love. It seems to me that one of the failures of the modern romance with learning is the breakdown of that entity into separate subjects- it has led to massive advances through specialisation- but it has also led in my view to a kind of parochialism of knowledge. I’m not sure what you think- to what extent is the domain of knowledge separate, to what extent is it the same entity?

    I think that’s a riff rather than a comment on your post! :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.