Forms of Love 5: Balance Beam

This ‘Forms of Love’ sonnet is dedicated to the Ancient Greek ‘philautía’, which is love of the self. Alternatively, ‘philautía’ could be described as regard for your own advantage or happiness. This quality is critical; it provides us with the ability to enjoy existence. 

Philautia is a life-saving medicine: too little and you perish because the dose is inadequate, too much and you die of an overdose. Insufficient self-love can lead to low self-esteem, depression, self-harm, vulnerability. Overabundance is narcissism. A balance must therefore be struck and the perfect metaphor for this balancing act… is the “balance beam”.

‘Balance Beam’ depicts ‘philautía’ as a gymnastic performance on that beam. Failing to maintain the right balance results in a fall “down one side” or “the other”.

Balance Beam

Self-love’s gymnastics on a balance beam:
Too little and you plummet down one side,
Collapsing down the other harms the team.
To beam, or not to beam… one must decide.
Committed gymnasts judge their every move
A twist- or tumble-trip could end the act,
And yet the lively spirit yearns to prove
Its routine is failsafe, its step exact.
Side safety mats are skins on sinking sand
False promises that tested bear no weight
Quag flotsam masquerading as sound land,
Whose fickle nature fallers learn too late.
	Although maintaining balance is a fight
	The beam is the high ground, and height is right.

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