I have a piece of slate that the river brought to me a couple of years ago. Unlike much of the slate that I have gathered from the river, which can be thin and brittle and shatters when I reach for it, this piece is quite strong. It has a perfect crack down the middle of it and the two pieces can fit firmly together or when they are side by side, the space between them is so elegant and beautifully formed. Even when they are seperate, the space between unifies them. They belong together and seem to symbolise my favourite quote:
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky”. – Rainer Maria Rilke
The most obvious and well known meaning of the red rose is deep love and affection. In the 18th century, a special rose language evolved as a means of communication between lovers who were forced by society to keep their feelings a secret. And the red rose came to symbolize true love that would stand the test of time. Staunch promising affection that is forever riding high is what the red rose means. The red rose denotes a true love that is stronger than thorns and can outlive all obstacles.
Desire is another facet of the red rose. The red rose expresses the throbbing heat of new love, a passionate expression of attraction. Red is the color of consummation, of raging desires and craving passion. The meaning of the red rose then is quite apparent from its color itself. The red rose speaks of love that awaits a passionate expression.
The word cleave is at once paradoxical and numinous with seemingly opposite meanings:
- to part or split, esp. along a natural line of division, and
- to adhere closely; stick; remain faithful (usually fol. by to)
Cleave ‘to split’ comes from Old High German klieban, and became Old English clefoan.
Cleave ‘to adhere’ comes from OHG kleben and became OE cleofian.
Old English is a West Germanic language and was primarily a spoken language, though some written accounts remain, eg Beowulf. OE was a moderately inflected language, meaning that words had distinct endings which signified grammatical distinctions. Middle and Modern English lost progressively more of the Old English inflectional system. Grammatical distinctions that these earlier inflectional endings signified have been lost. In linguistics, this is called ‘levelling’. In Middle English, the single word cleven came to represent both meanings and has further evolved into cleave.