Forms of Love 10: philia

This week’s ‘Forms of Love’ sonnet is inspired by the Ancient Greek word ‘φιλία/philía’: affectionate regard or friendship. It is love without physical attraction. Plato did not see physical attraction as a necessary part of love. For this reason, philía is commonly known as Platonic love.

‘Repression Alchemy’ is the launch pad for my exploration of philía. It focuses on the effect of not entering into an intimate relationship with someone.

The metaphor for this experience is the child’s “toy” left inside its original packaging. Although I’ve personally found it ridiculous that an untouched toy is worth far more than one that has been loved and played with, this poem presents the logic of the collector who wants their playthings untarnished.

Repression Alchemy
I struggled to believe them when they claimed
A toy is worth more left inside the box;
The cradle-coffin by designers aimed
To be as popular as chicken pox.
Restraint they urged / denial of the self:
Pretend that feel and fun are valueless,
Enjoy not games, place playthings on a shelf,
Push not the train, do not the doll undress.
For them, a tactile act is blasphemy
Contact infects knickknacks with seeping sores.
Rather they urge repression alchemy;
The gifts that turn to gold stay in the drawers.
	I thought them speculators, cash-obsessed,
	Now know you should not maul what you love best.

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