<3

I used the above emoji in an email to a friend. But then I felt a bit remiss. Such a large emotion to squeeze into such a small means of expression.

I found myself pondering the gradual degradation of our use of language to express our affections for one another. There was a time when people would pen entire sonnets to express such thoughts.

The work of writing a sonnet creates its own ecosystem of emotional value. Rather than simply dash something off, you need to put time and care into the crafting of a sonnet, choosing with care the use of rhyme and meter that will best express your thought.

So I decided to face down four centuries of linguistic devolution and unroll the simple “<3" back up to the level of a full Shakespearean sonnet. Below is what I ended up sending to my friend. The effort was much appreciated.


      A pair of symbols side by side I see
      Which seem to speak of something “Less than Three.”
      Yet other happy thoughts may lurk within,
      Analysis is called for — let’s begin!

      “Less than Three” — not less than Four or Five,
      What other fine constraints might we derive?
      First let’s not be negative, insist
      That Zero is the first upon our list.

      But Zero — what is left when all is gone
      Would leave us nothing positive — move on.
      Yet One will never do. It has been shown
      That happiness is never found alone.

            So now I see the symbols speak of Two:
            The Love you have for me, and mine for you.

5 Responses to “<3”

  1. Al says:

    But in honestly I do love it and would like to include it in my next wedding anniversary card (the inscription on my wife’s engagement ring is “<3").

  2. admin says:

    That is very kind of you to say.

    Yes, I would be honored if you would use it for that purpose.

  3. noazark says:

    Mind if my partner, Disa, attempts to make this the basis for a song?

  4. admin says:

    Sure, that sounds like it could be really good. Just make sure to give proper attribution. :-)

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