Poetry for Valentine’s Day

 

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.

SONNET 116
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.
xoxox

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My love affair with quotes

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Initially, the idea with this blog was to share my photography with the world, but I’m afraid my love for writing is getting the better of me, so please bear with me. I will try to spice things up a little with a bit of writing inbetween the gorgeous pics.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with quotes. My love for quotes and the English language is synonymous in that I have fallen in love with both around the same time, which, if memory serves me right, was around eighth grade (yes, I’m a bit of a late bloomer, but a bloomer nonetheless). My love for English can largely be attributed to one reason only; my eighth grade English teacher. Miss Titus was a 30-something, (mostly) single lady who was beautiful, daring and could pronounce the most eloquent English words from our prescribed textbook, The Battle of Bubble and Squeak. I could listen to her readings for hours.

One of the very first quotes that stuck in my head was one that was plastered onto Miss Titus’s classroom wall. It read; “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” I saw that quote every single day for an entire year. It was difficult to miss. The quote, just like the English language, slowly tiptoed into my heart and before I knew it, I was head over heels.

However, the quote that I’ve adored above all other, the one I have lived by for many years, I came across while working as a barista at Starbucks in Chestnut Hill, Boston, US in 2003. It was on a big poster against the wall at the top of the stairs and you simply couldn’t miss it. After cashing up your till downstairs, following a long day on your feet behind the espresso machine, it was the one thing that made the voyage up the stairs a little bit more bearable.  It was one of those quotes that once you’ve read it, you’d never forget it, and so I never did. It read: “Winning is not everything, it’s the only thing.” It was a quote by Vince Lombardi and it was only many years later that I discovered who he was.

I loved that quote since the first time I laid my two tired eyes on it. I knew then and there, that I was going to win. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew one way or another, that to me too, winning was “the only thing”.

I suppose telling a 22-year old Starbucks employee that “winning is the only thing”, can be a bit depressing especially since you are still trying to make sense of the world and figure out where you fit in. And yes, of course I had the occasional depressing day, but mostly it inspired me to keep going and to never give up. And that is exactly what I did. It is for that very reason that I have lived by this quote and will continue to do so for all my days.

There are three historical figures whom I admire for their quotes, their sense of humour and their wit; the authors Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain and the previous British Prime Minster, Winston Churchill. Google their quotes. It’ll be worth your while, I promise. Below I will share ten of my favourite quotes with you…

1)      “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – (the great) Albert Einstein

2)      Let a man lose everything else in the world but his enthusiasm and he will come through again to success.” H. W. Arnold

3)      “Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.”Khalil Gibran

4)      “Pay no attention to critics. No statue has ever been erected in honour of a critic.” – Jean Sibelius

5)      Nothing is out of the question for me. I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light… Then I’m grateful.”Miles Davis

6)      “I’m the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”Muhammad Ali

7)      “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”Norman Peale

8)      “I’ve put my heart and my soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process.”Vincent van Gogh

9)      “There is a vision for my life that is greater than my imagination can hold.” – (of course I had to add) Oprah Winfrey

10)   “Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.”Paulo Coelho

 

Okay, ten proved to be too great a task, I simply have too many …so I’ll just add ten more… That’s it. Promise.

11)   “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”Tata Nelson Mandela

12)   “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”Mark Twain

13)   “Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.”Mark Twain

14)   “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”Thomas Edison

15)   “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

16)   “I’m so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”Oscar Wilde

17)   “I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.”Oscar Wilde

18)   “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”Ayn Rand

19)   “I love talking about nothing… It is the only thing I know anything about.”Oscar Wilde

20) “I put all my genius into my life; I put only talent into my works.”Oscar Wilde