Forms of Love 1: Pro Patria

It’s ridiculous that there’s only one word for love: there are clearly many different forms of this emotion, all with different strengths and effects. The Ancient Greeks had a solution – different words for different types of love. Their list included ludus (playful love), pragma (longstanding love) and eros (sexual love). Although the length of this list is debated, most commentators agree there are at least six and that some of these can be further subdivided.

In acknowledgement of this pragmatic approach, my second collection of love sonnets will explore different forms of love.

This collection begins with ‘Pro Patria’, a sonnet exploring love of one’s country. The Greeks categorised this love as a form of ‘storge’: this is the love you feel for family members, friends, your country or a sport team.

Pro Patria

Beware the king who claims to be your kin;
The general whose mens’ blood is empire’s oil;
The fair-ground lawyer who makes senses spin.
Dyes on a map do not colour the soil.
Göring revealed the puppet master’s strings:
The forward cord tugged by threats of attack,
The yellow back-line stained with shame it brings,
Grave need for front twine tight and rear thread slack.
But ‘patriot’ means ‘fellow countryman’ –
Who profits more from solidarity,
Who should ignore the false flag furtive plan
Of greedy leaders urging enmity.
	“Pro patria,” should make us reach for blades
	For setting in the plough, so hunger fades.


  1. V timely Alex. Brings to mind the social constructs that have bound folk for centuries, and divide them more and more of late. Sonnet as social commentary? Brilliant idea.

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