Love Is Not A Word by Riyas Qurana

Love Is Not A Word by Riyas Qurana is a free verse poem, written in first person, using the voice of a personified love. In its six stanzas, this poem dives into the notion of love and what is needed to maintain it in relationships. Qurana uses metaphors based on nature to emphasize the reality of love and how natural it is for us to experience it; so much so that we can relate it so easily to the world and elements around us. He also uses the title of the poem to hint the speaker, whilst clarifying the ambiguous final stanza of his poem.


Love Is Not A Word Analysis

Stanza One

I am a forest
When I smile,
It goes near the pond
And is growing as a mountain

The first stanza of this poem opens with a short line emphasizing the metaphor of love being a forest. This is significant in understanding Qurana’s idea of love. Similar to a forest, love is a place for growth, nourishment and housing. Not only does love itself grow, but a person who experiences love (romantic or non romantic) grows very in sync with his/her emotions. Moreover, a person who is loved becomes emotionally nourished through having his/her natural desire fulfilled of being cared for, needed and wanted. Just as a forest is a home to many living things, love is also a home to many emotions such as happiness, loyalty, and contentment. The stanza then, continues on to say that when this forest smiles “it goes near the pond / and is growing as a mountain”. A pond is a still body of water, which helps to be aware of the idea that when love “smiles” or is in an environment of happiness it touches those people who are still and unmoving in their emotions; perhaps lacking love altogether. Associating love with a mountain, especially in relation to the growth of a mountain is very out of the ordinary, as at first thought one would not associate a mountain with the idea of growth or growing. Mountains are known for their vast sizes and being very solid and stationary; however, on further inspection it is realized that mountains are not of only one size nor do they all stay that way, because they do indeed grow in size. This is very relevant to love as Qurana is depicting it; it is vast in size, strong and sometimes when you think your love cannot grow, it in fact, does.


Stanza Two

If I wink
It becomes a whirlwind
Falling hairs swept away by waves
As streams and rivers
And the eyes bouncing in them
Multiply as fish.

Continuing with the theme of nature, the second stanza also plays with metaphors and imagery from our natural environment. Winking is an action typically used in situations of secrecy or humor; by having the second stanza initiate with the personification of love in the action of winking Qurana introduces the powerful image of a “whirlwind”. It is obvious that when love is connected to secrecy or humor it will create circumstances that could easily be described as whirlwinds. The mention of “falling hairs” in line seven also coincides with the dramatic imagery of the whirlwind and actually helps emphasize it as well. The stanza concludes with the idea that “the eyes bouncing” in the “streams and rivers” “multiply as fish”; this is an interesting concept especially when “eyes” here symbolize society’s speculations, standards and ideas. When love is mixed with secrecy, humor or both, it creates quite a messy scenario causing other people to meddle, or society’s standards in general to complicate and amplify the already complex emotion of love.


Stanza Three

Imagination makes the mind
Flying non -stop only with wings
Without the bird
As the forest shakes with the tireless
Cry of the peace (silence?)

The first three lines of the third stanza explore the idea of flying without wings. This is important to the overall subject of love for the simple and obvious reason that the powerful sensation of love breaks borders and takes people through a level of emotional awareness that they have never previously experienced. Experiencing true and sincere love is often described as flying without wings. It is an invigorating and liberating sensation for those who have the opportunity to indulge in it. The final two lines of this stanza investigate the notion that the “cry” of a persistent love is usually silent. Here, Qurana is exposing the reality of the love that most of us experience. When an individual dives into a relationship that grows from love ( romantic or otherwise), usually he/she is “tireless” in this venture. No matter what obstacles and difficulties present themselves in their endeavor of love, a person will persist, clinging on to the hope of success and survival. Most of this resilience in their relationships will be silent to the outside world; presenting themselves in “peace” and others will accept it as a result of their silence on the matter.


Stanza Four

Amidst all this
I keep a falling flower in the mid-air
Not to fall on the earth

The fourth stanza consists of just three lines. These lines implore the reader to pause and linger over the idea of this flower that love has held in mid air. What exactly is this flower that love will not let “fall on the earth” no matter the strength of the whirlwinds, waves and fish? This flower symbolizes hope. Amongst the intensity and severity in relationships and circumstances that love can bring, is the “flower of hope” that love claims it will not let “fall”. Hope is a very essential element in the emotional investment of love. Without hope no relationship that stems from love (which we can safely say is most relationships) can survive, as it binds the individuals to each other, allowing them to hold on to something through the times of testing and chaos which inevitably come in the company of love.


Stanza Five

Is it not up to you who search for it
To come and sit on it
And make love?

This stanza also consists of just three lines and continues the topic of hope. At this point, the personified love is posing a question. It asks people that “is it not up to” those searching for hope in their love to “come and sit” on hope “and make love?” There are a few important things to note in this question. Firstly, we notice that by directing a question to the readers, Qurana is emphasizing the authoritative nature and presence of love. Secondly, he enforces the idea that the hope that people look for in their relationships is something that the individuals have to “sit on” or stand firmly with, because their relationships are at a loss without it. Lastly, it is peculiar that love is speaking of “making love”; Qurana is highlighting the fact that love takes effort and work, it needs to be made. Love is made through effort and hope of fulfilment and it does not guarantee success.


Stanza Six

Don’t forget to bring the word
When you come.

The final stanza of this poem concludes with very ambiguous last three lines. It seems to be advice from our personified love, “to bring the word” when we come. The end of this poem could probably be interpreted to mean a number of different things. The title of this poem Love Is Not A Word gives us the clarification that “the word” here is not meant to mean love. So what exactly could it be asking or rather advising the reader to bring when the opportunity to experience love arises? The answer is commitment. This is evident as commitment is something that unfortunately not many people bring to their relationships and is something that only fortunate people find in their relationships and love. Commitment is a critical component to the survival of love, so it makes perfect sense for love to advise people to make sure we “don’t forget” it. Also by addressing the reader as “darling” Qurana reminds us that the speaker is not only personified love but in fact speaks with love too.

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