Poetry for Valentine’s Day



I’m a real sucker for love poetry. Most women are. I get weak in the knees when I read Shakespeare, Marlowe, Gibran or, my personal favourite, Neruda.

For this blog post, I thought I’d help out my male readers by sharing some of history’s greatest love poetry. If you haven’t decided what to get your special lady for Valentine’s Day yet, a love poem, some flowers and perhaps some chocolates will do the trick. Trust me on this. Take your pick from the poems below.

I’ll start with my favourite Shakespearian Sonnet. Now Shakespeare has definitely written more romantic Sonnets, but Sonnet 116 or, ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds’,  is my absolute favourite.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

The best romantic poet of all time, in my humble opinion, was the Chilean, Pablo Neruda. Please note I said ‘romantic poet’, not poet. So if it’s love you’re looking for, look no further than this South Americans writings. Here’s one of my favourites;
XVII (I do not love you…)
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

To prove my point, here’s another Neruda one;

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.”
― Pablo Neruda

Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gibran was another great poetic master.

Kahlil Gibran on Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Please note that I have deleted the second part of this poem. I think the above is sufficient. But feel free to google the full poem.

I’d like to end with this masterpiece from Christopher Marlowe. If this doesn’t knock her socks off, I don’t know what will.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Did I miss any of your faviourite love poems? Let me know in my comments section.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Till next time. Hugs and high5’s.

A tribute to André Brink

Andre Brink_books

I was deeply saddened at the news over the weekend of the passing of renowned South African writer, André Brink. Brink’s writing had such a great influence on me, an Afrikaans girl from a small town in the Western Cape. I first discovered Brink’s literature in the mid-90’s which was around the same time I started writing poetry.

My small town was commissioned to get our first ‘real’ library in the 90s. Prior to that, we used a section of the local town hall as a library. But with the new library came a whole lot of new books, including some of the best in Afrikaans literature. We revelled in Afrikaans legends including Brink, J. M. Coetzee, François Bloemhof, Breyten Breytenbach and even books from Ingrid Jonker’s poetic masterpieces. I’ve spent many hours of my teenage life reading from the pages of these great writers.

Strangely enough, it was, however, with English literature that I’ve fallen in love with.

Brink’s writing, together with the other great Afrikaans writers, was one of the many reasons I fell in love with writing in the first place. His books would change the course of my life in more ways than he would ever know. And for that I would forever be indebted to him.

May you rest in peace, son of the soil.

Meet South Africa

Howdy guys,

In light of a recent finding by National Geographic, naming Clifton in Cape Town the second most beautiful beach on earth, I thought why not take a moment to brag with my beautiful country (not that I need a reason!).

I love showing off the beauty of South Africa and I (mis)use any opportunity to do so. I came across this youtube clip and really want to share it with you.

Let me know what you think of my country!

Till next time, hugs and high5’s!