For years I have shared love poetry on Valentine’s day via email, Facebook, etc. with friends all over the world, but not on my blog here. This year, I’ve decided to share here too as it’s something I’ve become known for and people repeatedly tell me that they look forward to it.
It’s a tradition I started as a single gal because 1) I love to give, 2) I love poetry, and 3) I’m a hopeless romantic. Plus it was some sort of weird “I can be single and fulfilled” thing too. It turns out that it was a tradition that came in handy when I got married in a hurry (2 weeks to plan–eep!). I had a favorite romantic poem in a dollar store frame on every table at my reception. LOL!
At any rate, the tradition is to share a few of my favorite or newly discovered favorite love poems, as well as one of my own. I found a few poems by others I really liked this year (as I read throughout the year to find new ones), but had a hard time with one of my own. It’s been an off year for my writing of poetry. Lots of other emotional stuff going on. However, I did write some love poems (because I do), but one was “too cliche” (from what my poetry critique partners told me). SO the one I share, I share reluctantly because my love thought it was a criticism at the time (it wasn’t) and … well the dirty socks don’t exist in quite the same way any more. Yet this makes me love him more, because even this tiny detail he is willing to change for me.
by Sarah Browning
At the coffee shop you love,
white mugs heavy on the table
between us, young baristas—
spiky haired and impatient—
cannot imagine how two people
so old to them can feel so wanton,
coffee growing cold between us,
middle-aged bodies growing hot
under the other’s gaze. Even now,
apart, you send me songs so I may
listen to love from the golden throat
of a saxophone, piano keys playing
jazz across my soft belly.
How is it the tide of terror
has quit rising in me, or rises
and recedes as tides do, bringing
sea glass worked smooth
and lovely by the sheer fact
of time, bringing trash—
plastic mesh and old sneakers—
useless things now we might
bag up and remove, bringing
a lapping tongue of water up
over our toes as we hold hands
and walk along its edge—
carefully, gleefully, both.
by Daniel Hoffman
I am yours as the summer air at evening is
Possessed by the scent of linden blossoms,
As the snowcap gleams with light
Lent it by the brimming moon.
Without you I’d be an unleafed tree
Blasted in a bleakness with no Spring.
Your love is the weather of my being.
What is an island without the sea?
Love Comes Quietly
by Robert Creeley
Love comes quietly,
about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
And this one was at the end of a movie (“The Shape of Water”). I tried to find the source of the poem, but … this has been a challenge. “Though he doesn’t remember exactly where the verse came from, del Toro remembers reading it in a book of Islamic poetry, found in a bookstore he’d frequent before going on set to film.” Another person thought it came from “Divine Eros” by Saint Symeon. Your guess is as good as mine (and if anyone knows the source and can tell me, I will totally send you chocolate!).
“Unable to perceive the shape of You,
I find You all around me.
Your presence fills my eyes with Your love,
It humbles my heart,
For You are everywhere.”
And finally, there is my poem. I’m half tempted to share the cliche one instead as it shares a note of joy over my love. BUT as I said, this poem sings of joy to me for many other reasons.
Ode to Dirty Socks
Twisted inside out
like a hermit crab inside a shell,
your socks wait in the basket
for me to discover them:
rough cotton that expels tiny puffs
of sweaty foot ash
when I grapple with them
to prepare the wash.
Why are there so many?
This is the price of love
and surely it is better
than the empty basket
I used to keep.