Tuesday, February 14, 2012

St. Valentine's Day

My Valentine, on her 76th birthday in Venice
(photo: Francesca Źivny)
Eastside Road, February 14, 2012—
I DON'T CARE what Pope Paul VI says, I like St. Valentine's Day.

He took it off the general calendar back in the 1960s, complaining that, after all, nothing was known about any of the two or three Saints Valentinus, or their doings, or any of that. Typical of the administration of the Catholic Church, to care more about an abstract authenticity of origin than the events and experiences of daily life and lives that contribute to the greater reality of immediate meaning.

The first poem written to mark Feb. 14, I read this morning, was by Charles (!), duke of Orleans:
Je suis desja d'amour tanné,
Ma tres doulce Valentinée,
Car pour moi fustes trop tart née,
Et moy pour vous fus trop tost né.
Dieu lui pardoint qui estrené
M'a de vous, pour toute l'année.
Je suis desja, etc.
Ma tres doulce, etc.

alas he wrote from The Tower, imprisoned by the dastardly Brits after Being taken at Agincourt.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives he who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already, etc.
My very gentle, etc.

The source for all this is, of course, Wikipedia, which also says it was Chaucer, Brit of blessed memory, who first popularized St. Valentine's Day through a reference in his Parliament of Birds. I begin to note stirrings of amour among birds hereabouts, and I'm ready; I've cleaned out the bluebird houses…

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