Poetry Month Challenges Day 21: Reality and Romance

Romance in Reality by Maria L. Berg 2023

Reality & Romance

The question of defining reality continues to be one of the main questions of philosophy, psychology, and every belief system. I’ve explored it while reading Calvino’s memos in my post Visibility: Fantasy in Reality, and Reality in Fantasy and in contrast to dreams in my post #SoCS: The Reality of a Half-full Plate of Dreams: On Second Thought It’s Half-empty. Since I talked about Freud’s pleasure principle the other day, today we’ll continue to the reality principle.

In Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud says:

Under the influence of the ego’s instincts of self-preservation, the pleasure principle is replaced by the reality principle. This latter principle does not abandon the intention of ultimately obtaining pleasure, but it nevertheless demands and carries into effect the postponement of satisfaction, the abandonment of a number of possibilities of gaining satisfaction and the temporary toleration of unpleasure as a step on the long indirect road to pleasure.

Sigmund Freud

In The Mind at Mischief, Sadler defines reality through Freud’s pleasure principle:

Very early in life the child is forced to abandon its conception of the world as merely a pleasure resort. It is compelled increasingly to give up its life of fantasy and to accept an existence of reality; and concomitant with the development of this concept of the reality of the world there comes gradually to be built up this ego system of non-sexual complexes. It is the system of conscious urges which is coordinated with the enforced recognition of the reality of existence.

William S. Sadler, M.D.

Reality, by their definition, is facing that life isn’t full of pleasure, and we can’t always get what we want when we want it. Romance would be the opposite of this reality. It is feelings or demonstrations of love or desire, especially idealized love. We think of romance as love affairs with happy endings, but romance is any idealized belief, wanting an ideal over reality.

In Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason he talks about reality, ideals, and romance:

Although we cannot concede objective reality to these ideals, they are not to be considered as chimeras; on the contrary, they provide reason with a standard, which enables it to estimate, by comparison, the degree of incompleteness in the objects presented to it. But to aim at realizing the ideal in an example in the world of experience— to describe, for instance, the character of the perfectly wise man in a romance— is impracticable. Nay more, there is something absurd in the attempt; and the result must be little edifying, as the natural limitations, which are continually breaking in upon the perfection and completeness of the idea, destroy the illusion in the story and throw an air of suspicion even on what is good in the idea, which hence appears fictitious and unreal.

Immanuel Kant

Today’s Images

For today’s images I continued to explore using transparencies with brushstroke filters.

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to choose an abstract noun from the list, and then use that as the title for a poem that contains very short lines, and at least one invented word.

I am drawn to “Delight” and “Confusion,” “Honesty,” and “Deceit” would go best with today’s focus on the contradictory nature of reality and romance.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is write a poem using at least three of the following six words:

  1. Bow
  2. Lean
  3. Park
  4. Saw
  5. Tear
  6. Wound

Today’s prompts inspired me to start my Nonce Scavenger Hunt with an Inetersperse.

The Poem


Reality caused a tear,
a wound when I saw
how my ideal by it
didn’t match.

How lean
the real to romance fat
with desire wound
in a fat tear that falls
blue not red

It is a saw
down the cheek
and through
the mind

I mind the match
that falls blue heat

romantic ideal burns
a red cheek to blush
when facing the real
embarrassed and
disillusioned by

3 thoughts on “Poetry Month Challenges Day 21: Reality and Romance

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