At the high school I attended, the biggest project during the first year was “the word project.” The project involved each student selecting a different word, and finding out nearly everything she could about the word. It was considered a right of passage — it was a lot of work.
I selected “bittersweet.”
I have always had a fascination with duality, though it would take many years for me to be able to understood what that was, and what it meant. How can something be two things at once? I wondered. That simply phrased, yet philosophically complicated, question took me through almost a decade of academic intrigue.
In case you are curious, here are a few interesting facts and tidbits about the word “bittersweet”:
The first recorded use of the adjective was in Cotgrave’s Dictionary in 1611.
Bittersweet in Spanish is “agridulce,” and French is “aigre-doux..”
I enjoyed this quote to exemplify the use of the word “bittersweet”:
Poetry is no more a narcotic than a stimulant; it is a universal bittersweet mixture for all possible household emergencies and its action varies accordingly as it is taken in a wineglass or a tablespoon, inhaled, gargled or rubbed on the chest by hard fingers covered with rings. — Robert Graves
All of this research, and there was much more than this very small sampling I have included here, lead to a few original works — essays and stories I wrote myself. Upon reviewing this work, I came across a poem I wrote called “A Tainted Love.” I quite enjoyed it, and thought you might as well.
At the time, I was deep in the heart of my darkest phase. I was “goth,” and likely influenced by Marilyn Manson’s version of “Tainted Love” that was then popular. Other than that, I don’t remember other influences with specificity.
So, here it is — “A Tainted Love,” by me, circa 2002.
“A Tainted Love”
Impure emotions are running high,
Sharp as the knife going through my tender heart
Why was it such a lie? These pleasant memories I cannot dispose of
Intense pain lashes at my cheek by with only pleasant intentions
Only an icy hand to lean on…
If only it was not so cold, so harsh…
A terribly harmful trick to play on someone so vulnerable to deceit
The touch of your gentle body, such harmony was felt
Now makes the blood inside of me burdle
What a sour melody this has become
How cruel to dream about something so fake.