I think Tina Turner would approve this post.
Somewhere, for some reason, there has been a poem I have known my whole life. It’s brief, but I’ve never memorized it. I know the author’s name, but I don’t know any of his other work. I don’t know why we had a book of published poems in my house growing up that included this work, but here it is:
LOVE ME LITTLE, LOVE ME LONG.
by Robert Herrick
YOU say, to me-wards your affection’s strong ;
Pray love me little, so you love me long.
Slowly goes far : the mean is best : desire,
Grown violent, does either die or tire.
Herrick, Robert. Works of Robert Herrick. vol I.
Alfred Pollard, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1891. 61.
I think of myself as living a passionate life. I’ve often said I don’t do things by halves (and I don’t), yet those 4 lines come back to me, have come back to me, over the years and through the stages and challenges of living on this earth.
I do believe the author was speaking of love, or intimacy, but it has always struck me as being applicable to anything you tackle with gusto and verve. Like a craft, a job, a hobby.
We benefit, find the situation more enjoyable when we take it easy. In the immortal words of the Eagles:
Lighten up while you still can
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy
Or, as a friend once said:
Any cad can be charming for a few hours. It’s the performance over decades that matters.
And yet… and yet….
Don’t we crave that fierce, violent, passionate immersion, leaping in with both feet, caution be damned, despite knowing that a hot fire doesn’t serve you as well as the banked up coals.
The heart wants what it wants, I suppose.