If it's February 14, it must be time for some good old-fashioned poetry. And a pink sugar cookie. Okay . . . and chocolates.


And flowers too, of course . . . if you insist.

While I was visiting at their home, my parents were busily preparing for a little gathering they had planned to celebrate Valentine's Day.

The festivities were to include a poetry reading . . . A POETRY READING! . . . and every guest was instructed to bring a love poem to share with the group.

Surely that's something the current generation could use a little more of -- people getting together and reading poetry to each other.

Part of the reason I gave up writing poetry seriously (it was my first love and always my career intent) was that no one read it anymore.  And that was in 1982.

I had other plans the night of the party and therefore missed the actual event, although I heard that the results were perfect.  One guest wrote a love poem to his wife as a surprise and read it to the group (hardly a dry eye in the room) and many of the old standards were shared as well. One gentleman wrote a love poem to the airplane he had built himself.

For his selection, my father pored over his old books searching for just the right thing to share, and when he showed me his choice, I was simply delighted.

It was in a well-worn book of poems his mother had given him for his 8th birthday.  (I loved that tidbit of info as well, because not every mother gives every boy a book of poetry for his birthday.

So touching, to think of him reading it 
and thinking of my mother . . . 

He said he was hoping he could read it without crying.
And that thought, of course, made it difficult for ME to read it without crying.

So I brought home a copy to add it to my favorites.

And now it becomes my 
Small Works Valentine to You:

by Carol Haynes

Let us be guests in one another's house
With deferential "No" and courteous "Yes;"
Let us take care to hide our foolish moods
Behind a certain show of cheerfulness.

Let us avoid all sullen silences;
We should find fresh and sprightly things to say;
I must be fearful lest you find me dull,
And you must dread to bore me any way.

Let us knock gently at each other's heart,
Glad of a chance to look within -- and yet
Let us remember that to force one's way
Is the unpardoned breach of etiquette.

So shall I be hostess -- you, the host --
Until all need for entertainment ends;
We shall be lovers when the last door shuts,
But better still -- we shall be friends.

They have indeed had a splendid love affair, my mom and dad . . . one for the ages.
And how lucky we've been to be along for the ride.

Happy Valentine's Day.


Allie said...

Awwww...such a sweet poem your dad picked! Writing poetry was my first love too, but like you said, you won't make a living with it. I do have a book of poems in the Library of Congress. Where they'll hopefully burn it someday....

Happy Valentine's Day!

Darlene said...

Ohhh, how sweet! That poem about sums it all up about how we should always be treating the ones we love. Sometimes we forget. Thanks for the gentle reminder. And happy valentine's day to you!

luanne said...

Thanks for sharing. How could anyone be dry-eyed after that? Your dad must be a real sweetie!

Hope you're having a lovely, chocolatey day.

p.s. Did you wear your red boots to church & if so, where's the photo??? Would love to catch a glimpse... maybe inspiration for a new SWIW!

VO said...

Let me try that again, this time without typos.

Many <3 <3 <3 for this post.

susan m hinckley said...

Thanks, VO! I hope everyone had a good one.

And yes, I wore my red boots. And yes, I'll take a photo. We'll file that under "coming attractions."

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