‘Love’s Romulus’ is the fourteenth and final of my personification collection: it is partner sonnet to last week’s ‘Love is Remus’. This time Love is the other brother – the one who killed his twin after the cheeky sibling jumped over a wall he was building around Palatine Hill. (Having previously saved that very brother from the cruel clutches of their great uncle… who he also killed.)
Romulus was a shepherd before he was the warrior king who founded Rome. In ‘Love’s Romulus’, I blend the ability of love to nurture and guide (the shepherd) with the characteristics of love to defend and attack. All-conquering love might sometimes seem appropriate for winning the affections we desire. But warriors become accustomed to winning with force. They are “double-edged” weapons – as capable of hurting compatriots as they are enemies.
Those raised by wolves are generally wolves.
Love’s Romulus Love’s Romulus; shepherd and conqueror: Scout when your soul must see who’s on your side, Bright beacon for the lowland wanderer, Then god of war when interests collide. Young Remus Love’s launch is a flimsy craft Whose naked hopes on swollen breasts fast feast, Till strong hands grasp the crook, or keen spear’s shaft; To direct passions or repel a beast. But like all swords, this Love is double-edged The blade that floors the foe can flay the friend. No eaglet mourns its down when it has fledged, The knife that cuts the cord can too life end. Yes milk of lupine kindness turns love fierce But talons trained for war can true hearts pierce.