15 February 2013

A Day for the Heart

by R.T. Lawton

Okay, so it's the day after Valentine's Day, which means that my turn for an article comes up one day late to land directly on the 14th, but I hope you'll allow me a little leeway here. See, Valentine's Day is my wedding anniversary, so just pretend that everything is correctly aligned. Naturally, I'm supposed to be sentimental during this holiday of the year and thus, shall we say, exposing my softer side to my significant other. One further fact to know, if all goes according to plan, she and I should be lounging in Maui for the umpteenth time even as you read this. (I strongly suspect that Kiti slipped that little clause into the fine print of our marriage contract when I wasn't looking.)

Anyway, Valentine's Day speaks of lovers, romance, flowers, chocolates, roughly anything that melts the female heart and makes it go all gooey. At this point, you, the reader, will have to reflect back into your own Valentine's Days of the past and dwell pleasurably for a couple of moments on whatever worked for you.

In my case, my wife has a little red book stashed away in the lingerie drawer of her dresser. This particular hard-bound book is filled with hand-written poems composed by yours truly whilst gripped in the all encompassing embrace of infatuation. I'm sure most of you have been in some form of that condition at one stage or another of your life. To that end, I wrote all these poems in order to win the hand and heart of my lady love, and in the process filled up every page in that little red book. And no, you can't read it.

Most of the poems are very personal and/or have meaning only to the two of us. Realize that these scribblings aren't exactly sonnets by Shakespeare. Furthermore, need I remind you that when I returned to college shortly after my twelve month tour of Southeast Asia, I took my war poems into the WSU English Department seeking further guidance along these lines and was promptly not encouraged to continue any efforts in the field of poetry. But due to persistence (some would politely suggest hard-headedness) it turns out that the heart likes what the heart likes.

As a sample of my beginning strategy in this win-the-heart endeavor, here's part of an early poem during the courtship:

Please forgive my muddled mind,
it's seldom on the path.
It's not so good in English
and even worse in math.

But as I recall the contract
or the game as it is played,
one poem for one kiss
was the bargain that we made.

*  *  (okay, skip to closing)  *  *

I have no fear about the debt
for as I can plainly see,
you are a lady on your honor
and would not a debtor be.

Oh yeah, working on getting that kiss. Okay, so you had to be there. Shelley or Byron, it's not. Probably not even as good as the first recorded Valentine poem written by Chaucer in 1382 for King Richard the Second to give to his intended bride, and that one was composed in the language of Middle English, but mine are at least a step up from the "Roses are red, Violets are blue..." category. My main point being, hey, give the love of your life some personal hand-written poetry and watch their eyes light up. Go ahead, it's not too late even if Valentine's Day was actually yesterday. It doesn't need to be a professional job, it just needs to be from you, from your heart.

Yep, you can bet I got kissed with them poems. A lot. A whole book full, you might say.

6 comments:

Robert Lopresti said...

YOu are a brave man to let an early love poem see the light of day. There's a notebook full of sonnets I hope Terri keeps under lock and key. Not that there's anything wrong with yours, R.T. It's the principle of the thing.

Happy anniversary!

David Dean said...

Happy anniversary to you and Kitti, R.T.! I never attempted any love poems, but think yours is great. It did the job and made the right person happy.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

RT, do you know what trouble you're making for husbands? Shakespeare, no, but any wife who sees your post can now reproach her husband for flunking this aspect of romance: "Kiti's husband writes poems for her--why don't you write poems for me?"

Herschel Cozine said...

The poems of love I often wrote
Before I met my wife,
I'd rather wish would go away;
(That was another life).
And if I had a second chance,
Here's what I'd do, (I think):
I'd write the dadburned doggerel
In disappearing ink.

Dixon Hill said...

(Still laughing over Herschel's comment.) That's a great post, R.T.

R.T. Lawton said...

Thank you one and all.
Herschel, great return poem. And yes, words are like bullets, once they are put out there, you can't really pull them back.