Happy Valentine’s Day
“February – the month of love?!!
No wonder it’s the shortest one in the calendar.” ― Dinesh Kumar Biran
Art for Valentine’s Day – Sandro Botticelli: “The Birth of Venus”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Cormac McCarthy
“There is for a man two things in life that are very important, head and shoulders above everything else. Find work you like, and find someone to live with you like. Very few people get both.”
Below – Cormac McCarthy
Art for Valentine’s Day – Pierre-Auguste Renoir: “The Swing”
A Poem for Valentine’s Day
[“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in”]
By E. E. CUummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Source Unknown
“Valentine’s Day is when a lot of married men are reminded what a poor shot Cupid really is.”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec: “In Bed”
A Second Poem for Valentine’s Day
By Kim Addonizio
That Mississippi chicken shack.
That initial-scarred tabletop,
that tiny little dance floor to the left of the band.
That kiosk at the mall selling caramels and kitsch.
That tollbooth with its white-plastic-gloved worker
handing you your change.
That phone booth with the receiver ripped out.
That dressing room in the fetish boutique,
those curtains and mirrors.
That funhouse, that horror, that soundtrack of screams.
That putti-filled heaven raining gilt from the ceiling.
That haven for truckers, that bottomless cup.
That biome. That wilderness preserve.
That landing strip with no runway lights
where you are aiming your plane,
imagining a voice in the tower,
imagining a tower.
Below – Kim Addonizio
Art for Valentine’s Day – Peter Paul Rubens: “The Honeysuckle Bower”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Mickey Rooney
“Get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.”
Below – Mickey Rooney, who was married eight times.
Art for Valentine’s Day – Artist Unknown: “King Menkaura (Mycerinus) and Queen” (Egyptian, 2490-2472 BCE)
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Jay Leno
“Today is Valentine’s Day. Or, as men like to call it, Extortion day.”
A Third Poem for Valentine’s Day
“I loved you first: but afterwards your love”
By Christina Rossetti
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
Below – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Portrait of Christina Rossetti”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Frederic Leighton: “The Fisherman and the Syren”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Joan Bauer
“It was bad enough not having a boyfriend for New Year’s Eve. Now I had to cope with Valentine datelessness, feeling consummate social pressure from every retailer in America who stuck hearts and cupids on their windows by January second to rub it in.”
A Fourth Poem for Valentine’s Day
“I Wanna Be Yours”
By John Cooper Clarke
I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot
Let me be your coffee pot
You call the shots
I wanna be yours
I wanna be your raincoat
For those frequent rainy days
I wanna be your dreamboat
When you want to sail away
Let me be your teddy bear
Take me with you anywhere
I don’t care
I wanna be yours
I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out
I wanna be the electric heater
You’ll get cold without
I wanna be your setting lotion
Hold your hair in deep devotion
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
That’s how deep is my devotion
Below – John Cooper Clarke – “punk poet.”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Artist Unknown: “Mosaic with cupids gathering roses” (Roman, early 3rd century)
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Source Unknown
“I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Jan Vermeer: “The Love Letter”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Oscar Wilde
“One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.”
Below – Oscar Wilde
A Fifth Poem for Valentine’s Day
By Jennifer Chang
The daffodils can go fuck themselves.
I’m tired of their crowds, yellow rantings
about the spastic sun that shines and shines
and shines. How are they any different
from me? I, too, have a big messy head
on a fragile stalk. I spin with the wind.
I flower and don’t apologize. There’s nothing
funny about good weather. Oh, spring again,
the critics nod. They know the old joy,
that wakeful quotidian, the dark plot
of future growing things, each one
labeled ‘Narcissus nobilis’ or ‘Jennifer Chang’.
If I died falling from a helicopter, then
this would be an important poem. Then
the ex-boyfriends would swim to shore
declaiming their knowledge of my bulbous
youth. O, Flower, one said, why aren’t you
meat? But I won’t be another bashful shank.
The tulips have their nervous joie-de-vivre,
the lilacs their taunt. Fractious petals, stop
interrupting me with your boring beauty.
All the boys are in the field gnawing raw
bones of ambition and calling it ardor. Who
the hell are they? This is a poem about war.
Below – Jennifer Chang
Art for Valentine’s Day – Rembrandt van Rijn: “The Jewish Bride”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Ann Landers
“The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married, and the married wish to be dead.”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Auguste Rodin: “Eternal Springtime”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: David Levithan
“What’s Valentine’s Day about except the desperate search to find someone to spend Valentine’s Day with? It just shows that love has become a marketing campaign, like everything else. You buy into it and lose everything.”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Gustav Klimt: “Adam and Eve”
A Sixth Poem for Valentine’s Day
“For You Friend”
By Ted Kooser
This Valentine’s Day, I intend to stand
For as long as I can on a kitchen stool
And hold back the hands of the clock
So that wherever you are, you may walk
Even more lightly in your loveliness,
So that the weak, mid-February sun
(whose chill I will feel from the face
of the clock) cannot in any way
lessen the lights in your hair, and the wind
(whose subtle insistence I will feel
in the minute hand) cannot tighten
the corners of your smile. People
drearily walking the winter streets
will long remember this day
how they glanced up to see you
there in a storefront window, glorious
strolling along on the outside of time.
Below – Ted Kooser, former (2004-2006) Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
Art for Valentine’s Day – Frederic Leighton: “Flaming June”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: The Supremes
“Baby, baby where did our love go?”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Jean-Antoine Watteau: “The Surprise”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Jon Stewart
“Happy Valentine’s Day! And if this is news to you, my guess is you’re probably alone. Valentine’s Day is often times a, well, it’s a manufactured day that really doesn’t mean anything.”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Jacob Jordaens: “Portrait of a Young Married Couple”
A Seventh Poem for Valentine’s Day
By Wendy Cope
Today we are obliged to be romantic
And think of yet another valentine.
We know the rules and we are both pedantic:
Today’s the day we have to be romantic.
Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.
You know I’m yours and I know you are mine.
And saying that has made me feel romantic,
My dearest love, my darling valentine.
Below – Wendy Cope and Lachlan Mackinnon on their wedding day.
Art for Valentine’s Day – Edouard Manet: “Chez le pere Lathuille”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Liz Winston
“I think, therefore I’m single.”
Art for Valentine’s Day – Toyokuni: “Couple Under an Umbrella in the Snow”
An Eighth Poem for Valentine’s Day
“Love After Love”
By Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Art for Valentine’s Day – Auguste Rodin: “The Kiss”
Musings on Valentine’s Day: Sanober Khan
“in a world
A Ninth Poem for Valentine’s Day
By Kuan Tao-sheng
You and I
Have so much love
Burns like a fire,
In which we bake a lump of clay
Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me.
Then we take both of them,
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
In life we share a single quilt.
In death we will share one bed.
(Note: Kuan Tao-Sheng [1262-1319] was both a poet and the most famous female painter in Chinese history. This translation of “Married Love” is by American poet Kenneth Rexroth.)
Art for Valentine’s Day – Gustav Klimt: “The Kiss”