Is love a beaming, eye to eye? An oath—you-only-till-I-die?
A U that comes before an I? A hullabaloo-cum-lullaby?
A flirt? A tilting of the neck? An art? A Machu Picchu trek
back in time to that valiant peck on virgin cheek, that what-the-heck?
A brace of lovebirds who embrace instead of pecking cheeks, a plaice
whose eyes achieve a state of grace—as one on one side of its face?
A willing ear we learn to ration between soliloquies? A fashion?
The winning chips we hope to cash in from laying on the wheel of passion?
A bridle? Or a bridal dress? An if-you-love-me-you’ll… duress?
A scandal in the gutter press? A touch-me-there-uh-huh caress?
A smile without the crow’s-feet creases? A summer fling that never ceases?
A joining of two jigsaw pieces? A joke? A yoke with quick-releases?
Love grins with its beret askew, climbs up the sky and paints it blue
then turns the sun to shine on you and says, “You’re puzzled? Hey, me too!”
John Beaton writes: “This started with recollection of a joke by British comedian, Benny Hill: there’s quite a difference between ‘What is this thing called love?’ and ‘What is this thing called, love?’ I decided to come up with humorous answers and they started occurring to me in pairs of rhymed pairs.
I want this to be light and playful. I cobbled the answers together in octameter lines, each with two rhymed tetrameter halves, and configured the lines in three quatrains (aabb) and a rhymed couplet. The result has elements of the sonnet form—fourteen lines and a turn at the end of line twelve. I’ve also played with alliteration and internal rhyme.”
John Beaton’s metrical poetry has been widely published and has won numerous awards. He recites from memory as a spoken word performer and is author of Leaving Camustianavaig published by Word Galaxy Press, which includes this poem. (It is also in the Potcake Chapbook Rogues and Roses.) Raised in the Scottish Highlands, John lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
“What do you see through love?” by TW Chang is licensed under CC BY 2.0.