Personification 1: Love is a Beast

Love is often depicted as childish, angelic or gentle. And sometimes all three. So, for my first ‘personification’ sonnet, I imagined love as a gigantic creature – one capable of grabbing Cupid in its fist and squeezing the arrows out of him.

To emphasise the separation of Love as a beast from Cupid, I refer to the latter as a ‘flighty flirt god’. This diminishes the status of Cupid as the personification of love and also provides onomatopoeia with the sound of his wings.

I was tempted to include one of the nob gags that Shakespeare delighted some members of his audience with. But, in almost the words of Robert Frost, ‘kept the impulse for another day’ – declining to replace ‘kissed’ with ‘pricked’. (The result being more inclusive as well as less vulgar.)

‘Mask’ was not an intentional reference to the Covid pandemic. Also, its use in this sonnet suggests an eye mask rather than one worn over the mouth. However, since creative works partly reveal the subconscious, I cannot deny the possibility of this association.

The final couplet of my original draft had half rhymes. My nine year-old son let me know this was less than satisfactory so I changed them to perfect rhymes. I am far happier with the result.

And here’s the first sonnet of my planned year-long project. Please leave a comment if one materialises.

Love is a Beast 
Love is a beast that crushes doting hearts;
Can catch the flighty flirt god in its fist
And force that youth to loose his lightweight darts –
A needle storm, with every dreamer kissed.
They say Love’s blind, they’re right, but not by choice:
It does not wear a mask through which it peeks,
But feels instead for prey, then with full voice
Roars to declare it owns the souls it seeks.
Love backs off not from armies in bold garb
Nor flees when discord mountains do erupt.
Its Titan hide cannot be pierced by barbs;
No poison can its monstrous heart corrupt.
    But tiny sparks do not fear Love’s great size,
    Its thick arms fan the fire so flames can rise.
Love is a Beast read by Alex Burrett

8 comments

    1. Thanks Caroline. I wasn’t sure about reading the sonnets as well – but feedback has been positive so I’ll stick with that format. Best, Alex.

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