Monday, January 12, 2009

The timeless poetry of love

Have you ever written a love poem? Or received a love poem? I have. Poetry and love go together. Both are intense, powerful and vivid, heightening all the senses. Images of the beloved linger in the mind like the lines of well-remembered verse.

"The wild goose flies up and soars,
She sinks down upon the net.
The birds cry in flocks,
But I hasten homeward,
Since I care for your love alone."

Like love itself, poetry is old. I believe that as soon as we could speak, we composed poetry. By the time of the New Kingdom in ancient Egypt, 3000 years ago, love poetry was an accepted literary form. The man would call the woman "sister" and she call him "Brother" as expressions of intimacy. Each would speak of their longing and delight, using images of nature, trees and flowers.

"I am thy first sister. I am unto thee like a garden, which I have planted with flowers and with all manner of sweet-smelling herbs."

"Shedeh-wine it is, my hearing of thy voice, and I live because I hear it."

Reading such words, I am transported to the Nile and the young lovers, the man and woman who longed for each other and who adorned themselves with garlands and perfumes as each waited for the beloved to appear.

Truly, another magic of love.

(Pictures of a scribe and his wife and of an Egyptian blue lily from Wikimedia Commons. For more Egyptian love poems try here at the Ancient History Sourcebook.)


Linda Banche said...

Nice blog, Lindsay. Not your usual love poems.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thanks, Linda! There are some real stunners of poems from ancient Egypt and they come up wonderfully fresh. I really feel when I read them that I can almost touch the people who wrote them - they sure touch me.

Have you any favourite love poems?

Savanna Kougar said...

Beautiful blog, Lindsay. I adore those Egyptian love poems...when I get some time, I may try my pen at one as an imitation of that style.

Elaine Cantrell said...

I loved these poems. I wish I could write poetry, but I have NO talent for it.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thanks, Savanna and Elaine!

Elaine - you might surprise yourself if you wrote some free verse, particularly if you are relaxed.

Savanna- I look forward to seeing Egypt re-born in your poetry.

Unknown said...

I love poetry and your blog was beautiful!

Martha Eskuchen said...

These are lovely poems! I used to write poetry and read a lot of it in my teen and college years. Don't know why I don't do much of either anymore. Its really wonderful to think that these came from so long ago... sort of makes poetry timeless.

angie said...

i love poems and i never rea these before thanks for posting them

lindseye said...

Poetry can express so much in so few words and translates across language and time.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thanks for the feedback and comments, Lastnerve, MarthaE, Angie and Lindseye!

Your names have all gone my hat to be drawn - the winner has a choice of an ARC of one of my historical romances.

Good luck!

Best wishes, Lindsay

Lindsay Townsend said...

Congratulations, Angie! Your name was drawn from the hat!

You are the winner of one of my ARCS.

Please email me at to let me know which historical romance you would like.

Sorry to Lastnerve, MarthaE and Lindseye! Better luck next time. Thank you for taking part.

Best wishes, Lindsay