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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Happy birthday Tata Madiba!

 

Mandela day_blog

Today South Africa, and the rest of the world, celebrates #MadibaDay, the birthday of former president Nelson Mandela. It is commemorated by donating 67 minutes, the amount of years Tata spent sacrificing his life towards the struggle for democracy, in aid of goodwill. This year we celebrate the first Madiba Day without him. He would have turned 96 today.

In honour of this great man I’d like to share a poem of late South African poet, Ingrid Jonker. I have studied some of Jonker’s poetry in the past and although her work mirrored that of a dark, deeply troubled soul, it was also very profound. She was talented beyond her years. Jonker committed suicide by walking into the sea at Three Anchor Bay. She was 31 years old.

The significance of this particular poem, Die kind is nie dood nie (The child is not dead), is that Nelson Mandela read it, in the original Afrikaans (nogal!), during his address at the opening of the first democratic parliament in South Africa, on 24 May 1994.

Of Jonker, Madiba reportedly said : “She was both a poet and a South African. She was both an Afrikaner and an African. She was both an artist and a human being. In the midst of despair, she celebrated hope. Confronted by death, she asserted the beauty of life.”

I will include the English version of the poem at the bottom for my non-Afrikaans followers.

Enjoy! xoxo
Die kind is nie dood nie –  Ingrid Jonker

Die kind is nie dood nie
die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy moeder
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur van vryheid en heide
in die lokasies van die omsingelde hart

Die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy vader
in die optog van die generasies
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur
van geregtigheid en bloed
in die strate van sy gewapende trots

Die kind is nie dood nie
nòg by Langa nòg by Nyanga
nòg by Orlando nòg by Sharpville
nòg by die polisiestasie in Philippi
waar hy lê met ‘n koeël deur sy kop

Die kind is die skaduwee van die soldate
op wag met gewere sarasene en knuppels
die kind is teenwoordig by alle vergaderings en wetgewings
die kind loer deur die vensters van huise en in die harte
van moeders
die kind wat net wou speel in die son by Nyanga is orals
die kind wat ‘n man geword het trek deur die ganse Afrika
die kind wat ‘n reus geword het reis deur die hele wêreld

Sonder ‘n pas

 

The child is not deadIngrid Jonker

The child is not dead
The child lifts his fists against his mother
Who shouts Afrika ! shouts the breath
Of freedom and the veld
In the locations of the cordoned heart

The child lifts his fists against his father
in the march of the generations
who shouts Afrika ! shout the breath
of righteousness and blood
in the streets of his embattled pride

The child is not dead not at Langa nor at Nyanga
not at Orlando nor at Sharpeville
nor at the police station at Philippi
where he lies with a bullet through his brain

The child is the dark shadow of the soldiers
on guard with rifles Saracens and batons
the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings
the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks through all Africa

the child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world
Without a pass

 

Still I rise

Today is what I often refer to as a ‘Maya Angelou Sunday’. A quiet day filled with many random thoughts. Thoughts about life, about love, about the future; I know many of us often have these kinda days and well, today was mine.

In remembrance of a legend, I thought I’d post another one of the great Madam Angelou’s poems, together with this timeless picture of her. How beautiful! Enjoy!

Till next time,

Maya Angelou

Still I Rise
Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like suns and like moons,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.