The Poetry and the Prose

“Do you remember that paradox of love, of the first few weeks and months of Passionate Love (it’s capitalized, like the recipe, to begin with) — the paradox about time? You are in love, at a point where pride and apprehension scuffle within you. Part of you wants time to slow down: for this, you say to yourself, is the best period of your whole life. I am in love, I  want to savour it, study it, lie around in langour with it; may today last forever. This is your poetical side. However, there is also your prose side, which urges time not to slow down but hurry up. How do you know this is love, your prose side whispers like a sceptical lawyer, it’s only been around a few weeks, a few months. You won’t know it’s the real thing unless you (and she) still feel the same in, oh, a year or so at least; that’s the only way to prove you aren’t living a dragonfly mistake. Get through this bit, however much you enjoy it, as fast as possible; then you’ll be able to find out whether or not you’re really in love.”

–-Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

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