Happy St. Valentine’s Day! It’s been my annual valentine to share my favorite love poems with those who will have them. Buy yourself some candy and flowers, find a quiet place to read, and enjoy the three best love poems I've come across.
Two by Yeats strike me as ideal companion pieces. When You Are Old simply stated, is the best love poem ever.
Because it sounds a sobering counterpoint, I enjoy Yeats’1904 sadder-and-wiser lament, Sweetheart, Do Not Love Too Long.
Ina Cumpiano’s Metonymies joined my list a few years ago. It was anthologized in Floating Borderlands, a compilation from 25 years of La Revista Chicana-Riqueña and its successors. Here's only the fourth stanza of Cumpiano’s piece, which I quoted back in October 2005, after La Bloga Bloguero Daniel Olivas’ home survived a wildfire.
Enough intro. If you have to 'splain stuff, it's not worth it. Pero sabes que, I am always on the alert for love poems that are better than these, so please, click on the Comment link and share your favorites.
WHEN YOU ARE OLD
WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
--William Butler Yeats, 1893
SWEETHEART,do not love too long,
I loved long and long,
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song.
All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known
Their own thought from the other's,
We were so much at one.
But O, in a minute she changed-
O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.
William Butler Yeats, 1904
4 from "Metonymies"
If the police ordered me to evacuate,
what would I take with me?
Baby pictures, computer disks, the silver,
proofs of birth? The sun
would hang like old fruit until the smoke
gathered it in. Then: night in day, sirens,
and knowing that whatever I took
would hold in its small cup
everything I had ever lost.
So if the police ordered me to evacuate during a firestorm,
I would write your name on a slip of paper,
light it, and--
in those few hurried moments allowed me--
watch it burn, brush the ashes into an envelope
which I would seal and keep with me, always.
Ina Cumpiano."Metonymies." In The Floating Borderlands, Twenty-five
Years of U.S. Hispanic Literature. Ed. Lauro Flores. Seattle: UofW
Press, 1998, pp. 390-391
It's been a busy several months, and it's good getting back into a chiclit groove. See you next time.