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Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017

Oh, ha, bloody ha. A double whammy this year with British Columbia’s “Family Day” holiday Monday followed the next day by Valentine’s Day. I have neither a Valentine nor any close family – or family at all – on this continent. Of the two, I feel the latter more.


Mike used to take Valentine’s Day very seriously. One year he embarrassed the hell out of me by turning up at the Greenpeace office with a dozen long stemmed red roses. There were always roses (although never again in the office) and sappy cards. My cards to him leant towards the sarcastic (although never quite as sarcastic as the one above). And there was always a nice meal out somewhere. The perfect guy if you actually bought into this shit, but I didn’t. Never have. Still, yes, it was kinda sweet.

I shall be celebrating this year’s Valentine’s Day by taking part in an arts council event, “Heart Burn: Reports from the Front Lines of Love”.  Various people will be reading their own poems on the subject. I will not. When I was told about the event and asked if I would like to participate, the first thought that sprang to mind was: Dorothy Parker! Now that dame had some great observations about love!

So I shall be reading a selection of Parker poems, including this one, A General Review of the Sex Situation, an absolute favourite.

Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty.
Love is woman’s moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten, and man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?

At one point, in an early draft of Rum Do, I planned to call the novel What Earthly Good in honour of this poem. (Of course, that draft had a different ending.)

Also on tonight’s playlist, The Lady’s Reward.

Lady, lady, never start
Conversation toward your heart;
Keep your pretty words serene;
Never murmur what you mean.
Show yourself, by word and look,
Swift and shallow as a brook.
Be as cool and quick to go
As a drop of April snow;
Be as delicate and gay
As a cherry flower in May.
Lady, lady, never speak
Of the tears that burn your cheek-
She will never win him, whose
Words had shown she feared to lose.
Be you wise and never sad,
You will get your lovely lad.
Never serious be, nor true,
And your wish will come to you-
And if that makes you happy, kid,
You’ll be the first it ever did.

And another favourite, Unfortunate Coincidence.

By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Infinite, undying –
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Ho, ho, ho.


One Comment
  1. janeshead permalink

    Yep, Dorothy Parker is a goddess for all time.

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