Down through the ages, poets and lyricists have struggled with the definition of love. Many have said that love is the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes when a mother sees her baby for the first time. It is likened unto a shield of protection for the hapless and homeless. Frequently, love is confused with lust and we all know what that’s all about. I could go on and on trying to explain love and define love. Fortunately for us all, Mother Goose has done extensive research into the topic of love and has narrowed it down to two choices: cake or roses.
Amanda McBroom has done an excellent job of defining love in the song The Rose which was sung by Bette Midler in the movie by the same name.
Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.
It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose.
And here she is singing it to Oprah!
And now let’s just talk a little about love being like cake. MacArthurs Park is actually a type of cake AND an allegorical description of love. Love is a park. Love is a cake. It all just makes sense, right? Here are some of the lyrics to Jimmy Webb’s classic song:
Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed,
In love’s hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants
MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
‘All the sweet, green icing flowing down…
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it…
So here’s the image that comes into the mind of Mother Goose… a picnic in a lovely park, two young lovers sitting on the grass on their picnic blanket. They were lying down, but now they are sitting up, because Mother Goose is embarrassed at watching people making out in the park. The young gentleman is wearing striped pants. The young lady is wearing a yellow cotton dress. She is on her knees, perhaps she will begin praying soon. But for now, she is holding little birds in her hand. In the background, old guys playing checkers, pretending not to notice the lovers rolling around in the grass previously.
Suddenly dark menacing clouds come blowing up from the southwest, covering the cheerful sunshine with the pall of impending thunderstorms. The old guys grab their checkers and head for their bicycles. The young lovers grab each other one last time and then part, each running in their own direction towards home. The picnic blanket and the lovely chocolate cake with the spring green icing are left behind. Torrents of rain pound the park. The icing runs down off the cake, staining the picnic blanket. The cake is ruined — the picnic a disaster. And love is over for the two young people as they are quickly caught and arrested by the park security for indecent exposure and littering the park.
And now, my pure and gentle readers, the choice is up to you. Is love a rose? Or is it a nasty green melted cake, sodden and dirty and smashed into the remains of a picnic blanket in a grungy city park?