The Other Side of Valentine’s Day

I am one of the fortunate ones who has a caring, loving Valentine. He’s not into Valentine’s Day but that matters not as I am well used to it now and know that he has a heart of gold and cares more about me than I could ever fully know.

But, today my heart is breaking for all those people who, for whatever, reason are trying to scramble through this day in a world that feels empty and lonely because the love of their life is no longer with them.

I think especially of older couples who have been ripped apart by Covid19 after years of togetherness or young lovers whose imagined futures have been cut short by the death of one of them from Covid or some other illness or tragedy.

Days like this can be incredibly difficult when there is an assumption that love is in the air for all when, in fact, it feels like it has been replaced by an abyss of sadness.

I suspect most of us have known Valentine’s Days like that but they can be all too easy to cast into the background. However, we need to be especially cognisant that love can bring agony as well as ecstasy and much in between and none of us knows how the dice will fall.

I just hope that those who are feeling lonely today have a treasure trove of memories to draw upon that can sustain them and that they can see even a tiny glimmer of light for the the future.

Let none of us be complacent and let all of us be empathetic.

Spell of Love

Seasounds at Fanore, Co. Clare

February always brings me to love poetry and this is a poem that I hold very dear.


If, at your desk, you push aside your work,
Take down a book, turn to this verse,
and read that I kneel here, pressing
my ear where on your chest the muscles
arch as great books part, in seagull curves,
bridging the seasounds of your heart,

and that your hands run through my hair,
draw the wayward mass to strands
as flat as scarlet silk-thread bookmarks,
and stroke my cheeks as if smoothing
back the tissue leaves from chilly,
plated pages, and pull me near

to read my eyes alone, then you shall see,
silvered and monochrome, yourself,
sitting at your desk, taking down a book,
turning to this verse, and then, my love,
you shall not know which one of us is reading,
now, which is writing, and which written.

Kate Clanchy

(Source: Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley, 2002: Bloodaxe Books).

Perhaps you’d care to tell me about your favourite love poem/s. 

Crushing Crushes

I’ve written about crushes here before and over the last week the subject has reared its complex head again.

In short, I received a package from a guy who developed a crush on me way, way back when I was in my early teens. The large envelope contained a Valentine card and decades worth of Valentine quotes. There was also a very well-penned letter in which he explained the flip side of crushes and how it feels as if a piece of the heart has been stolen by the object of the crush.

I really, really thought that I had made it very clear over those years that I never, ever wanted to be part of the crush or see it develop into anything. Maybe I didn’t convey my thoughts well enough or maybe there was a deafness to them.

Okay, I went into silent mode then hoping that that would convey the fact that this was an entirely one-sided affair. Having read the letter, I feel now that there is a need to bring closure by acknowledging receipt of the package and stating absolutely that I want to give back the piece of heart that it I appear to have unwittingly stolen.

Why write about it all here? Well, I don’t have (nor do I want) an address to which to write privately. Also, I feel that this sorry episode highlights the extent to which personal blogs, especially, can be misinterpreted and need to be written with a clear focus on what they may dig up from the past.


Heart to Heart

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

St. Valentine’s Day, for me,  is all about hearts.  This short poem by the great Langston Hughes is one that evokes thoughts of all the sensitivities that surround love, heartache, heartbreak and, of course, those heart-to-hearts that are the most fundamental connections in what can be a bruising world.

The Dream Keeper

Bring me all of your dreams,

You dreamers,

Bring me all your

Heart melodies

That I may wrap them

In a blue cloud-cloth

Away from the too-rough fingers

Of the world.

(Langston Hughes)