People tell you you have a way  with words, suggesting that words themselves are a sort of path, an entrance to something, a route. „Somewhere in the middle of my life I lost my way,“  reads the usual English translation of Dante, and it is precisely words he uses to rectify his loss, to find his way once again onto the path of his own destiny.

It is for this reason that lovers‑‑ the real, restless kind who are always struggling against the rehearsed and habitual‑‑ are always on the prowl for new ways of saying I love you… they, too, would like to find a new way (deeper, richer, more intimate) into each other through language.

Yet we yearn for the reliable, the known, the practised, those habits of speech and being that connect us both to past and future‑‑ as Gary Snyder calls it in his book of essays, The Old Ways.  Speech‑‑ our wish to honor the things we love by inventing new ways of naming them‑‑ combines, at its best, the idea of a connection to the past (the reof re‑inventing) with the thrust into a new present and futurity (the inventing of it).

So that, when I find a new way of saying I love you, I recapitulate all the essential past‑ness and emotion of those words (their re) while honoring the uniqueness, the never‑before‑feltness of that feeling (its invention) which is the mark of all authentic emotion.

But invention, too, can be a tedious and draining task… sometimes even the authentic man/woman yearns for the bought platitudes of a Hallmark, the unreflective „I love you“ he has just heard his neighbour coo to his wife after a bitter argument.