In Hawaii for another Valentine’s Day—always a good spot for celebrating love, inspiring love and meditating on love. When I’m here my heart nearly bursts open with love for all creation.
Yeah, yeah, pretty easy when I’m this far away from routine, news, and winter weather. Regardless, sending love to you, dear readers, and to all my Valentines across the Pacific (and to one across the Atlantic).
On with the poem blitzing then:
I taped “Some Kiss We Want” by 13th century Persian poet Rumi to a piece of grass at a favorite overlook of mine. Every time I drive by I say, “It never gets old,” and so with a kiss, and so with our human yearning for love.
No one marries the spiritual with the physical like Rumi. Just look how he connects the mouth to that union in the last stanza. The mouth brings in breath and spirit, speaks words of love and is rather handy in the act of love itself:
Breath into me. Close
the language-door and open the love-window.
For a more prosaic but no less love-happy treatment of love, I left British poet Wendy Cope’s “The Orange” in a stack of grocery store (wait for it) oranges.
What a wonderful description she gives of being newly in love, how it makes you newly in love with every old thing you never paid attention to before:
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
I asked my friends, a long-married couple, to be in a picture with an excerpt from Edgar Allen Poe’s “To One in Paradise” while we waited at the airport to move from one Hawaiian isle to another. They wisely questioned the appropriateness of an Edgar Allen Poe poem for a non-Halloween holiday, but were good sports in posing with it.
The poem is (unsurprisingly) about a dead lover. But let’s just pretend that the loved one in the poem’s heavenly paradise is a loved one here on the earthly paradise of Hawaii. Then we can enjoy the romance of the beautiful lines and not feel like we’re dragging a decomposing corpse from the crypt to the bedroom.
The poem is hard to read in my picture, so I’ll type out the words:
And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances
And where thy footstep gleams—
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.
Speaking of morbid attachments, I do love a good cemetery and was happy to find an unmarked one off a dirt road where I could leave “Love Song” by poet Nancy Wood (1936-2013).
For anyone who’s lost their life’s love, this is for you:
. . . Our holy place is holy still;
our love is not diminished by absence or by pain.
There’s a high surf warning today on the north shore of Kauai, so it’s a good time to leave “Sonnet LXXV” by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) on the beach, to fulfill its promise of being washed away.
Not to be a sourpuss in the candy jar, but it’s funny that for all the flowery promises to make his lover’s name immortal and her virtues rare eternal, Spenser never does mention her name or describe what those virtues are. Seems to me what he really wanted written in the heavens was his poem. Success!
For those who haven’t yet found the lover to write their names in the sand much less follow through on a Bumble date, Maya Angelou offers encouragement in this excerpt from “In My Missouri.” I taped it to a telephone pole outside one of the only late-night spots in Hanalei, the famous Tahiti Nuit. (Famous for The Descendants fans, I mean.)
The poem begins with the bad men she’s encountered, the mean, cold and hard men. Then she writes, and I love this, I love this for all those who are still looking and need hope—
So I thought I’d never meet a sweet man
A kind man
A true man
One who in darkness you can feel secure man
A sure man
For my own man, my own sure man, I crumpled up Ted Kooser’s “Pocket Poem” and stuck it in his shorts.
My husband is notorious for crumpling his scorecard in our euchre group (much to the annoyance of the scorekeeper) so Kooser’s poem is just right. And also these lines, which I feel even now, thirty-two years on (forty if you include the teenage dating years)—
. . . I want to be so close
that when you find it, it is warm from me.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Across the isles and across the aisles, let’s love!