First Love and “The Lamp of Anteros”

Turgenev's FIRST LOVE

Turgenev’s FIRST LOVE

A little something for Valentine’s Day for those whose first love didn’t work out for whatever reasons and who can commiserate with Turgenev’s novella, First Love or the following poem (which alludes to the two leading characters in the novella).

For the first time, fell hopelessly in love
With someone I was under the illusion
I wanted to spend my entire life with.
Like Vladimir foolishly suffering
Under the spell of a capricious Zinaida –
Our relationship one of diminishing returns.
Love that had bloomed in early September
Wilted and died sometime in late July.
Happiness brief: sorrow long enduring.
Love makes us fools – the only lesson learned?
Alas, the lamp of Anteros remains unlit.

(After the death of Leander and Hero, the signal lamp was dedicated to Anteros, with the edict that no man should light it unless his love had proved fortunate. Note from Gabriel Rossetti’s sonnet LXXXVIII: Hero’s Lamp.)

(“The Lamp of Anteros” © 2013.  All rights reserved.)

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About poeticmeditations

A 19th-century romantic poet living in the 21st-century. The Romantic poets, nib pens, candlelight, waistcoats, and pocket watches are a few of my favorite things.
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