This is the linkback poem for the January 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl.
Shaeth is having heart trouble.
Specifically, it won't shut up
and leave him alone.
He feels something for Trobby,
but it's nothing like what
he once felt for Zargon.
Shaeth wants to give Trobby orders,
of course, because Trobby's his priest --
but there's a sort of warm tenderness to it,
like he wants to keep Trobby safe,
and he never wanted that for Zargon.
He feels something for Abredin,
but it's nothing like what
he once felt for Agleca.
Shaeth is startled by his desire for Abredin,
because she isn't his type at all,
and he doesn't want to fuck her over an altar --
he wants to talk with her about shared interests,
and he never wanted that with Agleca.
He feels something for Desdemona
and it's like nothing he's ever felt before
so much stronger and fiercer and purer
that it seems as if she has his heart
clenched in her tiny, potent fist
and Shaeth doesn't know
what to do with any of this.
He's still wondering about it all,
and to be honest,
starting to panic a bit,
when Caridor, God of Love,
sits him gently on a bench
and pours him a glass of wine.
"Stop panicking," says Caridor.
"Strive for acceptance."
"How am I supposed to do that?"
"Reach inside yourself and find
the new feelings," Caridor says.
"Then nurture them instead of
ripping them out by the roots."
Shaeth gropes around his emotions,
but that just makes him feel worse,
almost like he is falling.
"This can't be normal," he says.
"No, this is supposed to happen,"
Caridor assures him.
"I don't even know what's happening,"
Shaeth mutters into his wine.
"Love," Caridor explains.
"Which one?" Shaeth asks.
"I feel a bunch of different things."
"All of them," Caridor says.
"But they're not the same,"
"Look, it's like different kinds of hate,"
Caridor says to him.
"You know how the hate you feel
for a sworn enemy isn't the same
as the hate you feel for an opposing ideal --"
"Can we please not talk about that,"
Shaeth says quietly.
"I'm not the God of Evil anymore.
I'm the God of Drunks now."
"Well. Um," Caridor says.
"Give me a minute to think."
He pours himself a glass of wine,
sips it slowly, and when it is
about half gone he speaks again.
"Think about liquor," Caridor says.
"Wine comes from fruit
and beer comes from grain.
They don't taste the same,
but you can get drunk on both of them.
Love is like that; it comes in flavors."
"Love gets you drunk?" Shaeth asks.
"Some people do find it disorienting,"
Caridor says. "It's the best analogy
that I could come up with.
What do you think?"
"I think I have a hangover," Shaeth mutters,
putting his head in his hands.
Caridor pats him on the shoulder.
"Don't worry," he says.
"You'll build up your tolerance."
* * *
Recognizing emotions is a basic part of emotional competence. Love can be especially tricky. Unfamiliar feelings often require an adjustment process.
Acceptance is a necessary step in self-discipline. Understand how to stop resisting and practice acceptance.
There are many kinds of love.
Confusion is a bothersome feeling. Know how to deal with confusion and help someone through it without snowing them with advice.