A V-Day Poem

In the past, I used to send out Valentine photo cards (cheeky, skin-baring ones, of course), enclosed with a Dorothy Parker poem that extolled the bitterness of love, and the cynicism that Ms. Parker so masterfully rendered in a few turns of phrase. This year, having already bared my bum, and feeling slightly kinder, I’m posting a different kind of poem. One written in earnest, one written in hope, one written in love.

Of Love

By Mary Oliver


I have been in love more times than one,

thank the Lord. Sometimes it was lasting

whether active or not. Sometimes

it was all but ephemeral, maybe only

an afternoon, but not less real for that.

They stay in my mind, these beautiful people,

or anyway people beautiful to me, of which

there are so many. You, and you, and you,

whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe

missed. Love, love, love, it was the

core of my life, from which, of course, comes

the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned

that some of them were men and some were women

and some – now carry my revelation with you –

were trees. Or places. Or music flying above

the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun

which was the first, and the best, the most

loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into

my eyes, every morning. So I imagine

such love of the world – its fervency, its shining, its

innocence and hunger to give of itself – I imagine

this is how it began.

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