POETRY FOR VALENTINE’S WEEK

Is there a god of love?  If there is, Valentine’s Day should be as important as Christmas. Never look to offend this god. Proud ones!  Kneel, kneel to love!

The following three poems—supplications to Love’s infinite powers—are by Shakespeare, Shelley, and the last is original.

“Then find another god to save you.”   –Pilsus, a Roman senator

“Sometimes it lasts in love.’  –Adelle

SHAKESPEARE SONNET NO. 1

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

LOVE’S PHILOSOPHY by Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion:
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

SOME SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH LOVE

I

Some surround themselves with love.
They are never alone.
Obeying nature, they shyly greet a mate
And kiss, for the secret to love, it is said,
Is to increase, and so they propagate,
Making children who are beautiful,
Who grow in love, asking for love, until
Love is theirs, gleaming in the starlight,
Or the mist, and when the sun is bright
Love carries the world, refusing to stop,
For love withholds nothing—not one drop.

II

Some surround themselves with care,
They are always alone.
Cautiously, they prepare
A room, a grave, a bed,
With little items they can scrutinize,
Pride burns the embers of their eyes;
They ponder immortality until it dies.
And once, I loved one like this
From afar—for these do not like to kiss—
But I will never forget the day she said:
“Here is a map, with hell stretching far above—
And did you know the world is wrong because of all its love?”

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3 Comments

  1. The Old Man said,

    February 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you for Shelley’s “Love’s Philosophy.”
    Buried deep in Hutchinson’s old Oxford edition but omitted in the otherwise very useful Reiman and Powers Norton Critical edition, these
    perfectly crafted stanzas should be twittered universally on Valentines Day.

  2. David said,

    February 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    The Bard’s immortal exhortation
    Goads self-love to procreation,
    Shelley’s hymn to nature’s couplings
    Lends gravitas to youthful pantings,
    Whilst Brady’s sonnet gives us pause
    Ere cupid’s wings grow demon’s claws.

  3. David said,

    February 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Love carries the world, refusing to stop,
    For love withholds nothing—not one drop.

    A fine procreative sentiment, worthy of both Shakespeare and the catechism. :-)


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