Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thoughts on Valentine's Day 2007

Happy St. Valentine's Day! These are some of my favorite quotes about love.

From one of my favorite poets,
e.e. cummings: Love is more thicker than forget.

Uh-huh, I'd have to agree with that. About the same time I first read cummings, when I was 17, I came across Edna St. Vincent Millay's wonderfully romantic, Love is Not All:

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;

Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink

And rise and sink and rise and sink again;

Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;

Yet many a man is making friends with death

Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.

It well may be that in a difficult hour,

Pinned down by pain and moaning for release

Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,

Or trade the memory of this night for food.

It well may be. I do not think I would.

And also at about the same time, I first read Yeats hauntingly beautiful Song of the Wandering Aengus:

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wind

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire a-flame

But something rustled on the floor,

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

Auden knew a thing or two about love, and wrote beautifully about the pleasures of having someone to love (from

...but in my arms till break of day,
Let the living creature lie

Mortal, guilty, but to me

The entirely beautiful...

as well as the sorrows of losing a loved one (from Funeral Blues)

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

And of the myriad poets who have written about the joyful feelings of being in love, I especially like what Robert Burns and Christina Rossetti had to say:

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly fprung in June:

O my Luve’s like the melodie

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

Robert Burns, from
A Red, Red Rose

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;

My heart is like an apple-tree

Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell

That paddles in a halcyon sea;

My heart is gladder than all these

Because my love is come to me.
Christina Rossetti, from
A Birthday

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Dylan Thomas also wrote eloquently about the joys of loving another:

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach...

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from
Sonnets from the Portuguese, No. 43

I am a draper mad with love...
Throw away your little bedsocks
and your Welsh wool knitted jacket,

I will warm the sheets like an electric toaster,

I will lie by your side like the Sunday roast.

Dylan Thomas, from
Under Milk Wood

And then there is Shakespeare:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.
Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds...

Sonnet 116

Take his body,
and cut it into little stars

He will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world shall be in love with night
from Romeo and Juliet

Dorothy Parker took a cynical view of love:

By the time you swear you’re his
Shivering and sighing

And he swears his passion is

Infinite, undying

Lady, make a note of this:

One of you is lying!

And then there's Ogden Nash:

I love you more than a duck can swim
And more than a grapefruit squirts,

I love you more than gin rummy is a bore

And more than a toothache hurts

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea
Or a juggler hates a shove,

As a hostess detests unexpected guests

That’s how much you I love!

To My Valentine

Then there are the joys of physical love.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
The Bible,
Song of Solomon, 1:2

And one of my absolute favorites, from John Donne:

License my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.

O my America! My new-found-land,

My kingdom, safliest when with one man manned,

My mine of precious stones, my empery,

How blest am I in this discovering thee!

To enter in these bonds is to be free;

Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.

Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee...

Elegy XIX, To His Mistress Going to Bed

Still, one of the most beautiful things I've ever read about love is this anonymous quote from the 16th century:

Oh western wind, when wilt thou blow
That the small rain down can rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again!

ROME - They died young and, by the looks of it, in love. Two 5,000-year-old skeletons found locked in an embrace near the city where Shakespeare set the star-crossed tale "Romeo and Juliet" have sparked theories the remains of a far more ancient love story have been found.

Archaeologists unearthed the skeletons dating back to the late Neolithic period outside Mantua, 25 miles south of Verona, the city of Shakespeare's story of doomed love.
Buried between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, the prehistoric pair are believed to have been a man and a woman and are thought to have died young, because their teeth were found intact, said Elena Menotti, the archaeologist who led the dig.
"As far as we know, it's unique," Menotti told The Associated Press by telephone from Milan. "Double burials from the Neolithic are unheard of, and these are even hugging."

And finally, from Rodgers and Hammerstein:
Hello young lovers, whoever you are,
I hope your troubles are few.
All my good wishes go with you tonight,
I've been in love like you.

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star,
Be brave and faithful and true,
Cling very close to each other tonight.
I've been in love like you.

I know how it feels to have wings on your heels,
And to fly down the street in a trance.
You fly down a street on the chance that you meet,
And you meet -- not really by chance.

Don't cry young lovers, whatever you do,
Don't cry because I'm alone;
All of my memories are happy tonight,
I've had a love of my own.
I've had a love of my own, like yours-
I've had a love of my own.
Rodgers and Hammerstein, from
The King and I


Erin said...

All of these poems, quotes, and songs are fantastic! Thank you for posting, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Lisa :-] said...

Didn't you ever wonder how men can be responsible for the creation of these soaring love sonnets? I've never known a man who would admit to harboring such depth of feeling, much less write about it. Not even my husband, God love 'im (as I have for thirty-one years...)

Personally, I'm more of a mind to agree with Dorothy Parker...

emmapeelDallas said...

Yeah, I always liked Dorothy Parker myself...

Tammy said...

What a treat reading this post was. Many I had never read...perfect! I hope you had fun! HUGS

alphawoman said...

comcast.Thank you, that was lovely.

alphawoman said...

Damn that having to sign in! Sorry about my terrible typing. I never learned how to not watch my fingers and I even do that terrible.