Haiku ~ St. Valentine’s Day

Haiku ~ St. Valentine’s Day

The last week or more has been hard on the psyche for many of us. As a parent with children at college and high school the murderous acts on February 14th hit hard. To some extent we had become numb to the almost daily news stories concerning gun killings in the country where we chose to live. In a sad way I guess that was the final part of our becoming citizens. This event though was different for some reason and I feel that a sense of despair has finally soaked into my bones.

I thought long and hard about this subject over the last few days as I have been traveling and had more time to ponder than usual, and I have summed up my thoughts in the most succinct way I know how, with reference to that other infamous massacre on the same day…

89 years on
St Valentine’s Day again
When will Love prevail?

 

~ Richard

All You Need is Love

 

Yes, today is the day to celebrate lurve… or so we are told. Quite why we cannot share love for the rest of the year is beyond me, but I guess this day at least provides a focal point for this emotion. In the “old” days, when I was a youth, Valentine’s Day was a day when sweethearts connected with cards, flowers, chocolates, and dinner. These days it appears that valentine greetings are appropriate for any member of your extended family, friends and even pets. This year we were even asked by our school district to send valentine wishes to our kids’ teachers, in a desperate attempt to raise funds. Personally, I found that request fairly disturbing, but then perhaps I am too much of a traditionalist – the lyrics to the Police’s classic, “Don’t stand so close to me” seemed to instantly fly into my head when I read the email.

So how did we get to today? Valentine’s Day really first emerged in the writings of one of the first authors to compose written works in English, Geoffrey Chaucer, best known for his wonderful collection, The Canterbury Tales, way back in the 14th Century. In another book, The Parlement of Foules, he celebrated the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia when he penned:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day

Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.    

The meaning of which roughly translates to “A gift was given on Valentine’s Day, when every bird chooses his mate”

However, given that mid February in England is way too early for birds to be mating it seems unlikely that he is referring to today’s date.  

Over the following centuries there were many other links of St Valentine to the expression of love, but it seems to have been the early 19th century where this exploded into the sending of amorous missives as handwritten notes and then the mass-produced cards that we know today. For some reason this activity struck a collective chord (perhaps even plucked a heart string) in the populace and today we spend an estimated $19 Billion (yep, you read that correctly) celebrating the day in the US alone. Is it no wonder that Hallmark, jewelers and even car manufacturers push this date down our throats almost as soon as the xmas trees are cleared away?

Anyhow, not wishing to rain on anyone’s parade, to use the modern vernacular: May you all have a very Happy Valentine’s Day wherever you are, whatever you do, and whomever you are spending it with, and that’s especially if you are on your own.

160214_LoveIsAllYouNeed

~Richard

Pardon the Pun

It is only two weeks (yes, guys that’s only 14 days!) until Valentine’s Day. The fabulous 14th of February when we have a chance to express our affection to our cherished ones. I think I’ll probably write a bit more about my thoughts on this subject on the actual day but suffice to say that I am so grateful that myriad Jewelry stores, car manufacturers and Hallmark have been so thoughtful in reminding us of this celebration since the New Year began. Nevertheless, I wanted to make a post related to this today for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, I was still thinking about my previous post concerning the great work of Kevin Abosch. I had been mulling this around in my head for a few days and then suddenly had the thought to try something similar myself. “Ah, but how to make this unique?” thinks I, as I ponder the situation.

It was when we were in the kitchen last night and my wife asked me to make up a salad to accompany our dinner, and I was absentmindedly thinking about Valentine’s Day and what was the best way I could show my affection in the next fortnight (pretty advanced planning for me, in actuality), that I had one of those so-called “moments of inspiration”. Now, my cerebral pun-engine is always turning over in the back of my head (probably due to having been raised on a diet of British comedy, not least the Carry On films) but this time it leaped to my consciousness and delivered a classic (to my mind). So, I scurried to my basement studio (aka an ironing board with a tote lid covered in black material underneath a large LED shop light), stood on a chair and created the following image:

Lettuce Be Together
I also created one as fine art (i.e., without any text) in true homage to Mr Abosch should anyone wish to have a large leafy print adorning their home 🙂

~Richard

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