This Thing Called Love

I am a man of immense passion given at times to boundless urges and, I blush to say it, occasional blunders. One fabulously charming day I walked the countryside from my provincial little town of lovely teacups and interminable poetry readings to the seashore. Mind you, I love poetry but listening to 35 poets read two or three of their "best" in the worst basement in town leaves me dizzy. It's a two-day walk under blazing sun and rowdy jumble of moon and stars. Like a truly great poem, it rouses me deeply; to wit:

On the first day, all aglow, I wanted to make love to the sun but the sun said, "You are not big enough for me or hot enough for my passion; while burning you alive I would feel nothing at all. Beat it!"

When the sun set and night's lovely lunar face appeared, I wanted to make love to the moon but the moon said, "You are not new enough or blue enough or full enough for me. Such a love for me would be ennuyeux. Beat it!"

Ignoring the moon's rebuke, I then wanted to make love to the night itself but the night said, "You are not dark enough or deep enough for me; people would see us and laugh. How embarrassing! Beat it!"

Finally, dazzled by a particularly brilliant spot of light in the firmament—a radiant jewel!—I wanted to make love to a star but the star said this, "I am a thousand times brighter than you, no, trillions; and, anyway, it would be light years before I would hear your sweet nothings or feel your first caress, let along your thighs against mine. Beat it!"

Arriving at the sinewy, sensual seashore on the second day, I wanted to make love to the ocean but the ocean just murmured,  "You are not wet enough for me or salty enough. I do not make love to those whose skin is dry and hard and who have no flavor. It would only mar my beautiful wetness and leave my taste buds longing. Beat it!"

In the afternoon with the fog drifting in like a lazy dog from the bay, I wanted to make love to the fog but the fog only laughed at the suggestion, saying, "You poor desperate fellow. Your transparency is far too clear to me. Find yourself a lover with a clear shape and a curvy form. Then you will have some fun! Now beat it!"

Beat it, beat it, beat it! The story of my life!

Dejected, I walked through a meadow till I came upon a rabbit eating grass and clover near a hole in the ground.

"Mr. Rabbit," I said, staring at the hole and trying to sound casual,—"or perhaps it is Mrs. Rabbit or Miss Rabbit, which would be even better!—I have a proposition for you."

"Yes?" asked the Rabbit," looking up from its meal nervously.

"It's like this," I said, feeling a little uneasy now. "I would like to make love to you. You see, it has been a long time and the urge is very strong in me and, well, ..."

"You want to do what?" asked the rabbit, no longer chewing but eyeing me most critically. "For God's sake, man, I'm a married rabbit!" It didn't say "Beat it!" but turned and bounded down the meadow, its fluffy white tail disappearing over a hill some distance away.

Rejected by the sun, the moon, the night, a star, the ocean, the fog, and now even a rabbit, it was clear to me that love was not to be mine tonight.

Walking out of the meadow and swatting at mosquitos in the late afternoon sun—one had already bit my nose, another my right eyelid—I did not see the two snakes in the path before me. One struck me in the groin, the other in the left thigh, and I fell over backwards, hitting my head on a stone.

While I survived the bump on the head and the snake bites, I became ever so cautious about directly seeking love. It seemed to me that love was a gift doled out now and then by some higher power, or "Universal Love Will," as some of my stinting lady friends like to call it. But then I know guys, some of them complete slobs, who get it all the time just for the asking. Figure that out! Anyway, I think I have more to learn about the "Love Arts," or whatever you want to call this thing called love. See? I don't even have the words for it!

The next day I headed back home for a proper cup of tea and, I'm sure, more provincial vertigo. But I'm hard to put down. With springy first step I began a fabulous day.

—Louis Martin