i love you is always a quotation

“I am thinking of a certain September: Wood pigeon Red Admiral Yellow Harvest Orange Night. You said, “I love you.” Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? “I love you” is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them…

…It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. A precise emotion seeks a precise expression. If what I feel is not precise then would I call it love? It is so terrifying, love, that all I can do is shove it under a dump bin of pink cuddly toys and send myself a greetings card saying `Congratulations on your Engagement’. But I am not engaged I am deeply distracted. I am desperately looking the other way so that love won’t see me. I want the diluted version, the sloppy language, the insignificant gestures. The saggy armchair of clichés.”

— Jeanette Winterson Written on the Body

Not as good as Winterson’s, but here’s a few more clichés in poem form:

How do I love thee?

Counting deeply, madly, truly and

blindly: conquering all

with every fibre.


Soft serenades and whispered

vows, through use,

sweet nothings now seeming nothings.

Empty balcony words.


Falling- in, falling for you,

all’s fair in falling and war.

There are no words,

no penned words.

Those three little words.


Emma x



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