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QUINTESSENCE

Yes I Will Yes

Palacio del Flamenco
...and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
- James Joyce

Ah, Joyce. That writer with the ability to put us in the midst of passion and all its rush and uncertainty. This passage from Ulysses is justly renowned for its expression of erotic yearning as desire moves through us, as we wait and catch hold and ride the wave to its unknown destination. While various topics regarding love this month have dealt with those serious indents love often marks us with - better or not, love leaves us different - I particularly feel that passion, romantic or erotic love, is truly maddeningly, insensibly, indelible. In the words of E.M. Forster, It isn't possible to love and to part. You will wish it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.

That's a bit intimidating, the thought that love is eternal in the tattoo on your soul kind of way. Yet think of all the art, wars, cathedrals, and palaces built for love. How passion is transmuted into marvels of celebration and suffering. Or consider the philosophers, the knights, the intellects that have ignored the slippery grip of love, fired from within by denial in their chosen quests. And blessings on those of us who muddle love! We are constantly at the door, one hand on the latch. Do we go in, or depart? There is something about the human spirit both vulnerable to this emotion and wrought of steel by its fires. Joyce's heroine is caught in the ribbons of glory and the fall of passion. To yield is to bear witness to one's own transmutation: gone the inner solitary in the heat and the weld of an Other. Intimidating? Yes. But what a ride. And don't we say yes I will Yes every time.
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