Columns by Julie Sheehan

Hate Poem: The Story Behind the Hate

2.10.10

Okay, false advertising. This is not the story behind the hate—there is no story behind the hate, or if there is, I’m not telling. Instead, I have an observation, one that has probably occurred to many: hate and love can be described in the same, outlandish, hyperbolic and indistinguishable terms, probably because hate and love require the same degree of passionate intensity. Don’t say Yeats didn’t warn us, but it may be that hate and love are the same thing. Surely both are equally capable of mass destruction.

Weirdly enough, when we’re talking about language, not people, hate redeems love. Hate poetry, I mean, redeems love poetry. Take those sagging lyrics from “I Love You Truly” and substitute the word hate for love.

That’s what I did for the first lines of this poem:

listen to this poem »