Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You gotta have heart

The Grammys had a lot of heart this year, with mega-winner Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" as well as soulful tributes to Whitney Houston (by Jennifer Hudson) and Etta James (by Alicia Keyes and Bonnie Raitt). If you missed it, Gawker has clips.

Here are two poems for Valentine's Day.
Sonnet XXX by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be.  I do not think I would.
        From Fatal Interview (1931)
Love is an apple, round and firm
without a blemish or a worm
Bite into it and you will find
You've found your heart and lost your mind.
—Brooke Astor, in The New Yorker

Do you have a favorite love poem? I confess a fondness for the thoughts of ancient Japanese women poets on the subject.


  1. Miss Boogie wishes you a very Happy Valentine's Day.

  2. I like this poem by Elizabeth Bishop:
    The Shampoo

    The still explosions on the rocks,
    the lichens, grow
    by spreading, gray, concentric shocks.
    They have arranged
    to meet the rings around the moon, although
    within our memories they have not changed.

    And since the heavens will attend
    as long on us,
    you've been, dear friend,
    precipitate and pragmatical;
    and look what happens. For Time is
    nothing if not amenable.

    The shooting stars in your black hair
    in bright formation
    are flocking where,
    so straight, so soon?
    --Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,
    battered and shiny like the moon.

  3. Hands down my favorite would be "Of Love" by Mary Oliver. I'd insert a link but it's worth searching (I'm also lost at sea when it comes to links, etc!). Happy Valentine's Day, all!!

    1. Thanks Wilhelm for reminding us of this Mary Oliver poem. Oliver is the best. Hey JP, how about a Mary Oliver post???

  4. Delicious reading of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 by Alan Rickman... :D

  5. This is a good one, by Rilke:

    I Am, O Anxious One

    I am, O Anxious One. Don't you hear my voice
    surging forth with all my earthly feelings?
    They yearn so high, that they have sprouted wings
    and whitely fly in circles round your face.
    My soul, dressed in silence, rises up
    and stands alone before you: can't you see?
    don't you know that my prayer is growing ripe
    upon your vision as upon a tree?
    If you are the dreamer, I am what you dream.
    But when you want to wake, I am your wish,
    and I grow strong with all magnificence
    and turn myself into a star's vast silence
    above the strange and distant city, Time.

    Rainer Maria Rilke

  6. Grammies... where was Jiminy Glick for his inimitable interview style....? Liposuction setback? Bummer....
    Bonnie Raitt Rules!
    What was the deal with Nicki Minaj? She's talented enough without the distractions....
    Leave all the extra flourishes to those singers who can't, well, sing...
    Case in point. Chris Brown... there are better crooners loitering at the 7/11 on W. Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia; sure he can dance - so could Urkel from "Family Matters" and Screech from "Saved by the Bell"... maybe they could perform as a trio, say updated variant to Bell Div Devoe.... "Buffoon Brute anDork"
    Book 'em Danno.

  7. All time favorite!!!!!

    When love beckons to you, follow him,
    Though his ways are hard and steep.
    And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
    Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
    And when he speaks to you believe in him,
    Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

    For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
    Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

    Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
    He threshes you to make you naked.
    He sifts you to free you from your husks.
    He grinds you to whiteness.
    He kneads you until you are pliant;
    And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
    All these things shall love do unto you
    that you may know the secrets of your heart,
    and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
    But if in your fear you would seek only
    love's peace and love's pleasure,
    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing floor,
    Into the seasonless world where you
    shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
    and weep, but not all of your tears.

    Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself,
    Love possesses not nor would it be possessed:
    For love is sufficient unto love.

    When you love you should not say,
    "God is in my heart," but rather,
    "I am in the heart of God."
    And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

    Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
    But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
    To know the pain of too much tenderness.
    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy; to return home at eventide with gratitude;
    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

    Khalil Gibran

  8. Loved the Gibran, Penny. But the British are more hard-headed. I find "A Lecture Upon the Shadow" to be closer to my experience (alas!) It's by John Donne and ends "the first minute after noon is night."