[in-progress] Brother Love and Sister Strife

This is originally written by hand in a leather-bound book that I was given. It’s not finished, and I don’t know when it will be.

Brother Love and Sister Strife
Took Their tea at the cafe
And outside the cars drove through
The slush, snow blew in dis’ray.
He poured Her some coffee and (5)
She lighted His fag, the fumes,
They curled ’round Them like roses:
Around Eros there sprang blooms
Around Eris curled its thorns
As they grew so ambrosial (10)
From delicate blue-grey vines
That hued Their air a dapple.
And then the girl brought Their cakes
And she remarked that the Two
Looked so diff’rent, so the same. (15)
Eros tittered and He cooed,
Eris tossed Her locks and howled.
“My rotten brother,” laughed Strife,
“Much older, and Mum’s favourite
“And it’s the curse of my life, (20)
“He’s so close, needs me to thrive.”
“So I’m your curse now?” laughed Love.
“I have to keep you in check
“To keep the light on above!”
“But,” Strife said, “does not my work (25)
“Give greater value to all yours?”
Then Eros thought just a bit
As drafts came in through the doors
And Love twirled a chestnut wave
As He mused, “Perhaps, Sister, (30)
“As always, you speak blunt truths”
Eros noted with eyes a-glister
“But what value has your work
“Without mankind’s hope of mine?”
“Oh, semantics!” scoffed Eris. (35)
“My own words are as thine!”
“But the difference,” noted Love
“Is what it is that I meant:
“Though your gifts benign, they take
“Yet when mine decrease? Augment! (40)
“Discord can be pivotal
“Very much needed at times
“But even at their most worst,
“Love makes Mankind feel Divine.”
“So you offer illusion.” (45)
His harsh baby sister jeered.
“Fancy for children and slaves
“And I give truths without Wyrd.”
“You give illusions of truth,”
Love pointed out in defence, (50)
And then the girl brought their cheque
(Twelve pounds and twenty-eight pence)
“And what’s so wrong with the Fates?”
“You like them cos you’re immune.”
And Love stood there, dumbfounded, (55)
As the buskers played their tune.
Then Eris paused and returned,
Love then looked at the singer
And asked, “For what have you yearned?”
“My passion to earn my rent (60)
“And my food and some clobber.”
“And has love improved your fate?”
“No, I’m an odd-jobber.”
Eris scowled, Her eyes on fire,
“You know that’s not what I meant.” (65)
Eros threw up his hands, quite vexed,
Tossed his cap to the cement,
“Sister, if I’m so immune
“Then what about fair Psykhe?
“And moreover, what of Want? (70)
“And what of Difficulty?”
“This isn’t about your wife,”
Eris said with tired force,
“Nor is it about your kids
“But how you can be so coarse (75)
“And cos you’re you, they forgive
“Yet even when I am kind
“So few recognise the good.”
“Sister, mortals are so blind
“In matters of love,” he said. (80)
“And there is nothing that you
“or I can do to fix that.”
The buskers played “Love Is Blue”
And Eris asked her brother
If he remembered that show (85)
With that song used to torture
“Oh, Discord, of course I know,
“And I recognise your work.”
He kissed her forehead gently
They embraced and he remarked (90)
On her uncommon beauty
“I mean it, Baby Sister
“Even if they don’t get it
“There’s a fairness in your schemes
“And a beauty to your fits” (95)
“And in my locks and septum?”
She asked, gesturing her face.
“”Oh, quite fine accoutrements
“All arranged in perfect place”
And the wind it blew freely (100)
As the two continued home
Flurries danced upon the breeze
Between the buildings, wind moaned
Then Eris asked, just because
The song in her brother’s head (105)
Then Eros took out a smoke
And he twirled about and said
“It’s called ‘Raspberry Beret’
“The original, by Prince”
Strife remarked, “I’m not surprised (110)
“And I expect nothing less,
“That you’d eschew the covers”
“And what about you?” asked Love
And Strife thought, O such banter.
They walked, she bunched up her hair (115)
And then Eros looked at her,
His long hair cascading down
And eyes asked gently, “answer?”
“Such frivolity, Desire
“I’ve no time for this nonsense” (120)
And Eros expressed conceren,
(Then tossed tramps an old sixpence)
“What’s nonsense, Eris? Music?”
“If you must know then, Love: Yes.
“Or well, I just can’t ‘ear none (125)
“That is, I just can’t, unless…”
“Unless it’s outside your head?”
She nodded, now glad he knew.
“It’s not all they say it is,”
Love assured her ‘neath their yew (130)
In front of their old attached house
The tree, thousands of years old,
–or so was the one they cut,
When they moved in, year untold,
But before Elizabeth (135)
Was entertained by the bard
They rebuilt the house post-Blitz
The tree remained through times hard
And just like the tree, stood Love
And, too, stood his sister Strife (140)
Cos no matter what changes
The two make the fuel of Life.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

One thought on “[in-progress] Brother Love and Sister Strife

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