Wednesday, 28 September 2016


“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” - Aristotle

In ancient Greek the word for butterfly is “psyché”, the same word for “soul”. Psyche was also the name of Eros’ human lover (see the myth here). The Koiné Greek word ψυχή (psychē), “life, spirit, consciousness”, is derived from a verb meaning “to cool, to blow”, and hence refers to the breath, as opposed to σῶμα (sóma), meaning “body”.

This week in Poets United, the theme for the Midweek Motif is “Two Souls: Caged and Free”. Here is my poem:


Liebe (leeb-e, f): Love, affection, fondness.
First entry on page 162 of my “Deutsch-Englisches Wörtebuch”
Just as you left it open for me to discover...

“Liebe” is what you feel and you tremble in its grip,
Enjoying the sweet pain of its discovered existence,
Being tortured by the bitter pleasures of its awakening.

“Liebe” in the first sense is what you feel for me,
“Liebe” in the third sense is what I feel for you,
Our “Liebe” for one another so different...

“Liebe” you cry out to me silently and you hope for me to understand
Your insistent sweet melodies, the blooming gardens of your captive soul;
You hope to wake in me the same sweet “Liebe” that consumes you...

“Liebe” will bring us tears, so smile now while we still can,
Enjoy the bright sunshine of this southern Spring,
Banish the thoughts of approaching northern Winter.

Ach! Liebe! Die Liebe hat gelogen!*
Do not believe her secret, syrupy whisperings…
Your soul a prisoner of love’s enthralment;
My soul restless, free to roam – for fondness does not bind it.
Refrain, restrain yourself!
Don’t let your heart be broken!

(*Oh! Love! Love has lied)


  1. The photo is a bit startling: first the lovely image of the butterfly fluttering freely between the beautifully coloured birds but then the demise of the butterfly as food for the bird on the right brings one up short.

  2. really love the progression of the poem, the last warning & the mythical touch...enjoyed the story of Psyche & Eros too :)

  3. I love the reference to Psyche and Eros here ❤️ such a beautifully crafted poem ❤️

  4. POW! Cupid/psyche is one of my favorite explorations of mortal/supernatural. Sometimes Love seems so much the latter, so freeing, but indeed, it comes with desire and that brings obligations/complications in this mortal world: "You hope to wake in me the same sweet “Liebe” that consumes you..." Of course. If only all wanderers could be so clear. If only we mortals could listen.

  5. Therein lies the crux of the agony of the uncertain heart. If one could learn to allow love to liberate, rather than constrain........but for that one needs either confidence, or an assurance that one is loved. Sigh. A meaty philosophy to grapple with in this poem!

  6. I didn't know that about the butterfly and agree the picture is a very powerful addition to this poem - darling can sometimes be more bloody than we imagine

  7. We live in the fear of losing a love we do not have and therefore we never will...what a caged we build around ourselves...may we chose love...bkm

  8. Well, this is the politest brush-off I've read. One person is in love and his/her soul is captive but the other person experiences only affection and hence has a free soul... Poor love-struck person, who no doubt will suffer greatly and be heartbroken. The warning may be heard but I don't think it will be heeded! Excellent poem. I wonder what the significance of the German language is - was the person in love German, I wonder? Killer line in German: "Oh! Love! Love has lied"...

  9. Oh how sad! Unrequited love causes great pain. No matter how delicate the refusal by the non-respondent, one's soul has been captivated and is consumed by love... The illustration is wonderful!

  10. This reminds me a lot of German leider. A lot of the subjects were about unrequited love. Great art is made from the suffering of unrequited love. I love the first stanza...the serendipitous opening of the right page. Page 162.
    Thought provoking and beautifully expressed.

  11. Love and contentment are so diffrent for we can love passionately but not necessarily be contented with it for all time. It is a lucky couple to have both. I like you line "So smile when you can".

  12. Caught between wanting and not wanting....dilemmatic

  13. Caught between wanting and not wanting....dilemmatic

  14. Very sad ending, to find that love has lied. But so often, it seems, it does.

  15. Refrain, restrain yourself!
    Don’t let your heart be broken!

    Love is a gamble it can turn out good or bad! But one can influence it to make it better with lots of efforts of refraining and restraining! Very true Nick!