It's Monday the 13th. I don't think I've ever watched this many movies at the same time. SkyCable served the mush right up on all its movie channels. I surfed between When Harry Met Sally (the best among the best friend movies ever made); Wimbledon (I couldn't relate to the tennis but the rest of the film was interesting enough); How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days (the worldliest of them all); and now Seven Days, Seven Nights (uninteresting enough to let me write this while it's showing on the background). I've seen all these films before.
When it comes to impact, however, I think Hollywood cannot compete with Poetry. The latter simply immortalizes love in all its forms with more depth, mystery, and rhythm.
Let me count some of the ways that women poets have tried to measure this hidden treasure.
If You Were Coming In The Fall
If you were coming in the fall
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn
As housewives do a fly.
If I could see you in a year
I'd wind the months in balls
And put them into separate drawers
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed
I'd count them on my hand
Subtracting 'till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land
If certain when this life was out
That yours and mine should be
I'd toss life yonder like a rind
And taste eternity.
But now all ignorant of length,
Of times uncertain wing,
It goads me like the goblin bee
That will not state its sting!
Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
'I love her for her smile--her look--her way
Of speaking gently,--for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love, thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity.
How Do I Love Thee?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Not In A Silver Casket Cool With Pearls
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Not in a silver casket cool with pearls
Or rich with red corundum or with blue,
Locked, and the key withheld, as other girls
Have given their loves, I give my love to you;
Not in a lovers'-knot, not in a ring
Worked in such fashion, and the legend plain—
Semper fidelis, where a secret spring
Kennels a drop of mischief for the brain:
Love in the open hand, no thing but that,
Ungemmed, unhidden, wishing not to hurt,
As one should bring you cowslips in a hat
Swung from the hand, or apples in her skirt,
I bring you, calling out as children do:
"Look what I have!—And these are all for you."
I wanted to add my own verses here but decided against it. I should let the experts deal with this one. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.