The fog of love can blind
and change a man as much
as that of war.
While men can fall, unknown,
in war’s smoke of cannon and confusion,
it is in love’s bewilderment
that many men fall and are lost,
some becoming unknown even to themselves.
They may live on, these casualties
of the heart, but the child
who entered the fray most surely is lost
once battle is joined.
They can become enshrouded
in the atmosphere of swirling emotions
and blinding opacity to what’s real
and what’s heart-charging fantasy.
To come out the other side
of love’s haze into the bright light
of recognition that what was
once was oneself now’s become
half of some dual-bodied beast,
a cryptic Minotaur of pleasure
and pain, neither himself nor his other.
Perhaps that’s why the Greeks
deigned Love to be the offspring
of Beauty and War, as
dichotomous and oxymoronic
as any invention of man or god.
Love, assuredly the first and the last,
leaves its casualties staggering,
walking, limping or at gentle rest,
lost in its flummoxing fog,
its smoke made with the fumes of sighs,
from which no man or woman emerges
unscathed, unmoved, unchanged.
Nor ever wished to.
I’m in no way comparing the horror that is war with love. I am comparing the type of confusion experienced in the smoke of battle and how it changes people with that confusion and change experienced by those who fall in love, whether for good or ill. My thanks to The Bard for semi-agreeing with me in his fume of sighs quote.