Love has always been associated with complications. To some, love is the best thing that has ever happened to them; to others, the mention of the word love revives pain, deeply buried for so long in their hearts. Love can be a therapy to a person in pain when expressed in a genuine manner. This is however, a rare occurrence as only a few humans are able to express true love, as it should be.
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The type of love expressed by human is far much different from what the recipient expects. Variation in the expectations and delivery of love is the cause of hurt and mistrust. Louise Lobe probably experienced this fact when she composed Long-felt Desires and I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown. The two poems must have been a confession from Louise as they talk of real experiences that many would confess as true. In these poems, love is not a source of joy but a source of pain and mistrust.
In I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown, Labe laments the inconsistencies associated with love. “Thus I suffer love’s inconsistencies” (“I Live I Die I Burn, I Drown” Line I) tells of the sufferings associated with love due to inconsistencies. The inconsistencies bring in confusion. Being unsure of what to feel is more troublesome than having negative feelings.
The poet undergoes many contradicting feelings that leave her unsure of everything. All of which have both sides of emotions: good and bad. “I live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown,” (“I Live I Die I Burn, I Drown” Line 1) tells of tribulations that the writer goes through. In one minute, life is smiling at her and in the other life seems to be fading away.
Her spirits are lifted by the good deeds that come with love at one moment. Yet in the next, the bad things that ensue dampen them. She is not sure whether she is burning or drowning, whether she is alive or dead. Bad things and good ones come together leaving her confused and exhausted.
Sometimes the tribulations are manageable while at other times they are unbearable. Life is both good and bad at the same time as troubles and joys are intermingled. When it seems like rejoicing time something happens that would make her celebrate and grief at the same time.
She does not know if she is happy or not. She is torn between the two. It is as if happiness is always there and always absent. Sometimes she feels like love is crushing her and sucking her life away. This occurs when her partner hurts her. When things are good between them she feels like she is growing.
She starts to grow emotionally, physically and spiritually. However, this does not last for long, as she is forever doomed to inconsistencies. Sometimes she thinks that she is condemned to pain but this pain does not seem to exist. When she is about to rejoice that happiness is back; meant to last, nevertheless, this feeling also does not last. Labe is confused and suffering due to the events that are neither good nor bad. To her, love is pain and joy at the same time.
Long- Felt Desires also by Labe is a poem told by a heartbroken person. The experience with love has planted a seed of pain and hopelessness in the heart of this person. However, she still longs for the good feeling associated with love. What she is not sure of if is whether the crushed heart will ever accommodate love again.
The experience from the past has left her with painful emotions, “cruelty beyond humanity/ a pain so hard it makes compassionate stars go mad with pity/ these are the first passions I’ve had” (Labe, “Long-Felt Desires” Line V-VII). She was treated with cruelty that has resulted to all the pain that she feels. She bears so much sadness and sorrow that calls for pity.
This has left her cynical about love. Labe wonders, “Do you think love could root in my soul again?” (“Long-Felt Desires” Line VIII). It leaves her wondering whether, at any point of her life she will be able to love again. Whether love will ever revive what she felt before the bad experience remains debatable to her. She knows that this will not be possible as the wounds from the past “…covers me. It can pierce no more” (“Long-Felt Desires” Line XIV). She is destined not to love again in her life.
The two poems are similar in that the writer has had experiences in love. The writer has suffered in both poems, from love inconsistencies and heartbreak. The two poems share a common thing, pain. In I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown, although in love, Labe is going through pain. In Long-Felt Desires, the writer is not in love. However, she is going through a lot of pain from the past cruelty she had experienced in love. In the two poems, love is nothing but unhappiness.
However, the two poems varies in that, in I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown Labe is in love while in Long-Felt Desires, she is no longer in love. In I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown, the writer is undergoing all this while still in love. She is experiencing the both sides of emotions while still in love. On the contrary, the persona in the Long-felt Desires is no longer in love. All the pain and hopelessness emanate from what she has experienced in her life.
The writer’s past is full of cruelty that caused a wound that will forever shield her from falling in love again. In the first poem, though the persona is undergoing painful moments, there are also some moments of joy. Sometimes she experiences happiness, and joy. This leaves her with some hope to carry on loving. However, the poet in Long-felt Desires is hopeless. The experiences in the past have left her hopeless. She does not think that she will ever love.
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Based on Labe’s history, love must have been a painful and at the same time exciting experience. Her father married her to a prosperous rope maker who was thirty years older than she was. On the other hand, Labe was in love with a young royal guard who unfortunately, she could not marry.
The two poems reflect the painful reality associated with love. Though to some love is still a paradise, to many people, love is a source of pain and misery. Heartbreak, misery, emptiness, and unfulfilled promises define love in most cases leave its victims with wounds that cannot heal.
Labe, Louise. I Live, I Die, I Burn, I Drown. N.d. Web.
—. Long-Felt Desires. N.d. Web.