Tessa, What’s True Love?

You said I’m fey and maybe I am.
For one so wobbly, would you
impose austere standards?
Perhaps that’s why I wanted you.
Someone to balance me out–
you know, and I got a son
just like that.

Someone clear-headed, and rapt,
a bit of a recluse,
so there’ll be a coda where
temperance might be good,
to quell the heart’s dotage
in young and old age
and find God instead.

Prompt: Temperance is defined as “moderation or voluntary self-restraint.” So is it possible for love to be like that? Isn’t true love meant to be chaste (pure) really? It is characterized as “the control over excess… through chastity, modesty, humility, prudence, self-regulation, forgiveness and mercy; each of these involves restraining an excess of some impulse, such as sexual desire, vanity, or anger.”

Pablo Neruda’s “Sonnet XVII” expresses something like it.

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. ”

As one of the cardinal virtues, is temperance a characteristic of true love?
Think about it in a poem.

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