Shakespeare had a penchant for stating things by asserting the opposite is untrue. “Love is not love that alteration finds”, “Love alters not” and “Love’s not Time’s fool” are all taken from Sonnet 116 ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments’.
It is a powerful technique because it distinctly asserts a condition. This technique is called Litotes. In ‘The Elements of Eloquence’ Mark Forsyth defines Litotes as “affirming something by denying the opposite.”
The seed idea for this personification sonnet was that love is the thing that separates us from other animals. There are plenty of other pretenders to this throne: self-awareness, faith, language, morality. (To name but a few.) For me, love is the key fundamental force of the human condition; it has the power to elevate, enhance and devastate our lives. It is clear to me that the power to love comes from within. It is not distributed by an inhuman entity. God therefore is not love. Love is the internal power that allows us to transcend the physical experience of life.
Love’s not from God God is not Love; no deity set out Before tocks ticked or light blazed out of stars With visions of a flood to quench the drought Of hardened human hearts held behind bars. The preacher’s gambit’s flipped, for Love is God: Diviner who from matter springs forth joy, Herald whose wings can lift each step that’s trod, Conductor whose fierce bolts will Hate destroy. Love does not radiate from sacred shells Dropped by celestial birds for greater good With power to alter primitive brain cells Or expel naturists from Haven Wood. The old lie “God is Love” is the reverse; Love comes from us and shapes our universe.