February 14th 2012. Yes – it is St Valentine’s day – although seemingly no one knows who he was, what he did or why he is associated with love. You know – it is rather British of me to see a sombre side to all the red velvet hearts and roses. My guess is that for each loved and delighted recipient there is a disappointed and lonely figure making the best of it somewhere. There are those who love the wrong person or who found the right one too late. There are those who love the shallow and the cruel and are trapped in their suffering. There are those who cannot love because they were never loved. There are those too wounded to love again and those who wounded cruelly, grown old now and surveying the withered loveless crop they sowed, those bereaved and those abandoned. Today will bear as many tears as kisses. As a poet, I have never written a proper love poem. I did write one about the crime of love. I used legal and criminal terms to reflect the sense in which love can often be seen as wrong and how the ruthless words of law freeze dry its passion.. Here it is:
No choking by chocolate
No cruel cut of flowers
For these would be treason
Against our State.
With counterfeit notes
Demanding honey with menaces
Loitering with intent to adore -
These be my petty love crimes.
A great favourite poet of mine is Robert Graves. In his poem “Man In The Mirror” he surveys himself and reflects upon his quest for the female. I checked him out on you tube and was amazed to find him performing this poem with video. Just catch that clipped British accent!
I can never let Valentine’s day go by without thinking of poor old farmer Boldwood who was so deranged with love for Bathsheba Everdene in Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd”. When she teased him with a Valentine’s card she set in a motion events that would lead to his destruction.
I am very loved in my own life. I reflect upon this sometimes remembering Ovid’s poem “Remedia Amoris” (the cure for love). He advises catching the horse while you can before it gets into a gallop. Then treat (the disease) early and fill your time with war or law. If all that sounds a bit active there is always the advice in Wendy Cope’s poem:
Two cures for love
1 Don’t see him. Don’t phone or write a letter.
2 The easy way: get to know him better.
What a miserable old git I am! I hope you are having a love filled day. If not – I hope my little dose of cynicism cheers you up. You are not alone.
If you fancy a few more dances around the bonfires of traditions check out ” I Threw A Stone” which is my current collection available on Amazon Kindle. You will find learned masterpieces dealing with Erectile Dysfunction and love in the ”bargain bin consume today” department at Walmart. It has an MP3 audio download (which also plays on the Kindle) and tomorrow on the 15th IT IS FREE on Amazon, worldwide.