Will you be my valentine?

So today is Valentine’s Day. Some people love it; some people hate it; and some people think it was invented (or at least promoted) by greeting card and chocolate companies. Here’s a fairly detailed Wikipedia link about the holiday: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine’s_Day.

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Love and poetry are classically linked. What is The Odyssey but a very long love poem?

Also, poets such as Ted Kooser have openly admitted their early attempts at poetry were to woo potential partners (that’s how yours truly got wrapped up in poetry). By the way, check out this review of Kooser’s Valentines book.

Even the reclusive Emily Dickinson has been known to write a love poem or two. In fact, here are 57: http://www.bartleby.com/113/index3.html.

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And poets always seem to be hooking up, though it should be noted not all poet couples stand the test of time (for instance, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes). Perhaps, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are the most popular example of romance between poets–but they are not the only example.

Even today, there are plenty of couples: C.D. Wright and Forrest Gander; Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar; James Cummins and Maureen Bloomfield; etc.

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And as part of the Valentine’s Day celebration, I’m going to share a poem I wrote recently to mark the day. It was inspired by those stale Sweethearts candy with those little messages, the longing for youth, and, of course, the love I feel for another poet (she knows who she is).

“At the Arboretum”

From his box of Sweethearts, he hands
her candy that reads CUTIE PIE
before eating his own WILD LIFE.
They walk the paved path to a pond
filled with sleeping koi. A sign warns
KEEP OFF GRASS, but she leads him there
anyway. In high school, this is where
he would run across the frozen pond and
wander off the trails and into the summer
creek water. He hands her CLOUD NINE
and pops a CHILL OUT. He remembers
being young and cold in February, but
a sweater feels just right today. He’s
not in high school anymore he thinks and
starts to move back toward the path.
But then, she touches his arm, whispers, “Stay.”

 

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