Confession: I like Valentine’s Day. I know young single women aren’t supposed to because we’re still expected to be repressed or bitter against happy couples or something, but I rather like kitschy holidays. I love Halloween, I love Christmas. There’s certainly a lot to be said about societal ideas about romantic love being highly flawed, and stereotypes of single women are still toxic as hell (for alternatives, enjoy the increasingly popular and fabulous Galentine’s Day or the Chinese holiday of Singles’ Day–challenging Black Friday and Boxing Day as one of the most popular retail days in the world!) I am all for the celebration of romantic love, though, just as I am with the celebration of all kinds of healthy love. And though my friends and family think otherwise, I admit I do have my romantic side.
I’ll be posting several lists of my favorite lovey-dovey media leading up to Valentine’s Day. Kicking off the month of February, here are some of my favorite romantic (and one anti-romantic) poems. Who knows, maybe these’ll come in handy in the near future. Enjoy!
“Love is Not All” – 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 can not 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 pain 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 well may be. I do not think I would.
“The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” – Sir Walter Ralegh
The sun has wept rose in the shell of your ears,
The world has rolled white from your back, your thighs:
The sea has stained rust at the crimson of your breasts,
And Man had bled black at your sovereign side.
“A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” – John Donne