Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Take another piece of my heart

Michael Sedano's St. Valentine's Day 2007 Valentine and wishes for us all.

Here are three of the best love poems I've read.

Yeats' "When you are old", already holds a place in most readers' repertoires. I like the contrast in his second, coming as it does a decade later, a decade wiser. Had Maud gone? The third, Ina Cumpiano's "Metonymies" will be new to many readers. The first time I read it, I was electrified, especially in the final stanza. I hope you'll relax and let the intensity of this lover's emotions rule the moment of its reading and afterglow of contemplation.

I'm sure you have your favorites, too. Share them with people you love! And maybe, just maybe, you'll click on the Comment link and share your favorite Valentine-appropriate poems with La Bloga. Maybe next year, I can share four.

Gracias de antemano, or is that antecorazon?



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

Metonymies / Ina Cumpiano


LAST JULY, they loosened their grip, let go--
plum, sweet plum--until the grass
was bloody with the warm flesh. Months later
the finches, purple fruit, hide in what's left of leaves
so that only when they fly off,
when the branches bounce back to true
is their presence known. They will not outstay
the leaves, the thin white light disclosing
those empty hands, the tree, against the sky.


This trip south, the egret questions the lagoon:
the white curl of its own back is the answer.
No matter how many times I return, this shallow inlet
to the sea will be here; and the egret, long gone,
will grace it with presence.
In "The Blind Samurai" the camera zooms
to the old man's clever ear: a double metonymy
that links our deafness to his danger. By the time
we catch on--snap, snap, footsteps
in the underbrush--
he has done battle and
bandits litter the forest like cordwood.


The camellia loses its head
all at once; it does not diminish
petal by petal
so for weeks the severed blossom lingers
as moist as pain, at the foot of the bush.


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.

The Floating Borderlands, Twenty-five Years of U.S. Hispanic Literature. Ed. Lauro Flores. Seattle: UofW Press, 1998, pp. 390-391

Blogmeister's note: Click here, or on the title, to view this page with a special musical accompaniment.


Unknown said...

I love Yeats, I do! But my favorite love poem is this one by Lorna Goodison.

A Bed of Mint

A bed of mint
beneath the window
of the room where we sleep
will render the morning air
sharp and sweet.

I'd turn to you in my sleep
half out of dreams
murmuring "Whose bed
is it that smells of mint?"
"Ours" you will whisper.

Then we will roll over
like the waves in the wake
to draw tea from the source
springing beneath the window,
living mint and sweet to each other.

By Lorna Goodison.

Lisa Alvarado said...

Michael -- That Yeats poem is one of my all time favorites...What woman doesn't live to hear that her life's journey, the lines of time and character are what endures in the heart of her beloved?