Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fire and Ice

Recently while chatting to a colleague about relationships, he mentioned that he is not in a relationship because he has not met a woman who shares in his tastes or is at his intellectual level. He went on to say that he hopes to one day meet a woman who shares in his hobbies and interests so that in future he will not get bored with or of her. This got me thinking about my own relationship and realized how different I am in some aspects to my wife. This reminded me of a poem I studied in college, Fire and Ice, by Edmund Spenser. OK, I know that interpretations are varied, and some will claim that it is about unrequited love, but the good thing with me is that at times I choose to interpret things the way I want to. My interpretation (I recall, contested bitterly by students and the teacher then) is that opposites can live together. So here is the poem, and let me know how you'd interpret it!

My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
how comes it then that this her cold so great
is not dissolv'd through my so hot desire,
but harder grows, the more I her entreat?

Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
is not delayed by her heart frozen cold,
but that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
and feel my flames augmented manifold?

What more miraculous thing may be told
that fire, which all thing melts, should harden ice:
and ice which is congealed with senseless cold,
should kindle fire by wonderful device?

Such is the pow'r of love in gentle mind
that it can alter all the course of kind.

14 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you. Two different people can live together in harmony. I think if you love and respect a person, no matter how different that person is you can still have a wonderful relationship where each respects the other's space and loves despite all the opposites. Loved your poem. I have read Fire and Ice by Spenser and like your interpretation of it.Loved the last line.


    http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.in/2012/02/dark-desire.html

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    1. I agree with you Rimly, Also love the last line

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  2. Wonderfully said...that's why we have the saying - opposites attract.

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  3. Ah, I wish to make no generalisations here. At some phases, it is complimenting to realise that both partners have similar tastes and ideas but sometimes while ordering food, it helps to have differnt tastes as one get to eat something else. A mixture of both is what sometimes seems right. There are times I just don't care whether my husaband and I have similar tastes or different. What matters is that we both can amiably live with each other.
    Talking of space and other things, my husband feels that the concept of 'space' is very Western and since we are of a different culture, 'space' is just BS to him.

    Ha, a long comment.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Susan, I think the definition of space is also important. The fact that my spouse allows me time to do other stuff that is of the least interest to her, such as me going out with the boys to watch a soccer game, to me she is giving me some space. I feel like I don't have to consult her for everything and neither does she have to tell me everytime she is going out with her friends. I agree that indeed there has to be some things in common that brought you together in the first place but some people tend to think that they have to share all interests and like the same things. People even opine that you have to be from the same tribe, religion etc... Thanks for sharing and I welcome long comments!

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  4. Its important to have common ground but too much is stifling, not enough it's doomed to failure. My mother always used to say that men strayed for one reason only ... they weren't looking for friendship they had that at home!
    I like the third verse of the poem best of all - attraction is an odd thing and sometimes the chemistry works and other times it doesn't. If your friend meets someone with the right chemistry the differences won't matter.

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  5. It would be very boring if two people with the same personality were under one roof! One needs sparks and experiences and views that differ... how else would one grow?

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    1. I agree with you Savira, we need to sharpen each other through our different experiences and viewpoints

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  6. In as much as opposites do attract, I am wary when a common ground lacks...

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    1. Of course there must be some common ground that brought you together in the first place!

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  7. I thrive in relationships where I'm allowed to be individual. Plus I like a guy who can be individual.

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  8. A sweet poem Otieno and I like your interpretation. Successful relationships need individuals who complete each and it is important that they are not simply clones. A couple can be completely different and yet share certain common interests - that is what you guys are calling chemistry...

    Here is a small quote from Elton John's Nikita

    Oh I saw you by the wall
    Ten of your tin soldiers in a row
    With eyes that looked like ice on fire
    The human heart a captive in the snow

    Stay well.

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    1. Thanks Woolie for your wisdom...and for reminding me to listen to Nikita, it has been quite a while!

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  9. After reading the poem,it is so clear to me why you received such immense backlash due to your interpretation back then.People are often reluctant of trying new things due to the fear of the unknown and surprisingly your friend is one of them.We often tend to go by the usual belief that in order for two people to live happily,a common ground must be reached but this must not always be the case all the time.

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