WALLACEBURG ARTS: Valentine’s Day offers the holy grail of poetic writing

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This issue of Arts in the Burg will land on your doorstep or in your mailbox or appear on the “interweb” a few days before Valentine’s Day. It seems like the perfect time to write about poetry.

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The Mirriam Webster site defines a poem as “writing that formulates concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound and rhythm”.

Poetry is an art in the art of writing. The words are chosen with much more care than Dave and I tend to in this column – to be clear, neither Dave nor I consider ourselves writers, we do so simply because we want the arts to have a voice in our community.

Unless it is an epic poem, poetry is usually reduced to the bare essentials of words. I love the constraints of different forms of poetry; they force you to be precise, to play with the words and to hear the beats or the rhythm of the lines. For someone who enjoys “word forging” this can be a very satisfying undertaking.

It seems obvious that Valentine’s Day would be the holy grail of poetic writing. A short message expressing your love and affection for your Sweet Babboo. Even the most language-impaired will attempt a poem around mid-February. Granted, it may start with “Roses are red”, but in this it is really the thought, or more specifically the “creation of an emotional response” that counts.

Here are two of what are considered the best poems ever written. I offer you the first because I love the imagery it contains and I smile to think that the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote this classic poem to his wife – Mary Shelley, author of another romantic classic… Frankenstein.

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The second is considered by many to be the greatest love poem ever written in English and it was of course written by Shakespeare.

philosophy of love

The fountains mingle with the river

And the rivers with the ocean,

The winds of paradise mix forever

With sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is unique;

All things by divine law

In the same spirit to meet and mingle.

Why not me with yours?—

See the mountains kiss the sky

And the waves hug each other;

No sister flower would be forgiven

If he disdained his brother;

And the sunlight hugs the earth

And the moonbeams kiss the sea:

What is all this sweet work worth

If you don’t kiss me?

Doorbell 116

Don’t leave me at the wedding of true spirits

Admit the obstacles. love is not love

Who alters when he finds alteration,

Or bend with the remover to remove.

Oh no! it’s an ever fixed mark

Who watches the storms and is never shaken;

It’s the star of every wand bark,

Whose value is unknown, although its size is taken.

Love ain’t the fool of time, though rosy lips and cheeks

Inside the compass of his curved sickle comes;

Love does not change with its brief hours and weeks,

But confirms it even at the edge of fate.

If it’s a mistake and on me proven,

I have never written, and no man has ever loved.

Speaking of love, some of you might remember that crazy saying from the 70s: “Love is never having to say you’re sorry”. Nonsense! Love means you care enough about someone to say you’re sorry and you respect them enough to accept that neither of you is above making mistakes. We are richer when we listen to other perspectives and lovingly consider that perspective. There is no need to agree, just respect to listen and recognize that these differences are normal and healthy in any relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, let’s spread some love!

Finally, to my Habibti, my Sweet Babboo, my beautiful wife, Joni Yazbeck – Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you.

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