On Love

An article by David Capps, December 2019

David Capps is a philosophy professor and poet who lives in Hamden, CT. He is the author of two chapbooks: ‘Poems from the First Voyage’ (The Nasiona Press, 2019), and ‘A Non-Grecian Non-Urn’ (Yavanika Press, 2019).

A cold fire provides no nourishment, mind which radiates an impulse originating from nothing, and which rarely consists in the remains of knowledge through suffering—spent knowledge—it is the difference between Rimbaud and Hölderlin, pinwheel self trying on other selves, despairing to be the source of so much hope, to possess its self and its not-self, not to mention the solution to its own paradox. 

Love’s miracle is being common. The seer who claimed to see the inward nature of things and gathered herbs and plants accordingly, or the lovers who claim to see the future and speak so softly yet so truly with their ‘could potentially’ resting on their lips as on an altered nature. To love as a measure of all things, yet behold worlds opening from an oceanic trench, molten sacred earth tumble through cruel water, jagged, crashing into ancient rocks, an un-choreographed ballet which proceeds from an unknown regularity.

That love is peculiar, stamped, unique, individual, irreplaceable: suppose. So may be qualities. So it not these features of love that imply that love is love of a person as opposed to their qualities. If one believed otherwise, love between persons would be in one respect valueless, at least if one believed that ‘persons’ like ‘human beings’ were transcendent entities, or at least abstracted categories, or perhaps: irrelevant to one’s life. But isn’t love valuable in every respect, on pain of not being love?

Yet what of ‘one’? What of these ‘beliefs’?

Love’s difficulty is personal, not philosophical. Love cannot be love of qualities because then I, the lover, would be loved for these qualities which cluster around me (and are said to be irreplaceable, etc.), but of course I perceive my own qualities as worthless if disembodied (or made ‘transcendent’ some other way)—I can’t even consider some of them existing otherwise (e.g. self-identity). Sometimes I have to be reminded to wake up before noon!

What proof of self-value can there be but that I hope to accept myself no matter what changes I may undergo, including changes which result from being loved? But what greater miracle could there be than I be the one to provide such proof? To want the other to share this hope just is to want the other to love me for the same reasons I do, no matter what happens to be the nature of the ‘I’.

When I look into my love’s eyes we are not at a distance, interposing there isn’t some set of qualities; her hazel eye darkens in the sun, tries taking me in at a glance, flits away at the bat of an eyelash, furtive as my hands find their motion caressing her ears outer edges as she opens them fully. It is the middle of the afternoon that I look into her eyes and see her and close the book and realize how inadequate the expression is ‘to see’ and close my eyes in the middle of the afternoon and leave to love to absolve the contradiction of being nothing in the arms of another nothing.