Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentine

St. Valentine's Day isn't meaningless if you don't have a "valentine." It just means something else.

I've saved some handmade valentines. They're all buried in a box in the closet. They were too nice to throw out but not things I care to look at again. Certain women were in love with me in certain years. Nice memories now & no more. My biographer would be amused, even curious about such creative expressions of love & devotion, as well about the handful of love poems I've written. The sweetest of those poems were written for a woman who was around for all of three months. But I was on a roll at the time, writing about departures, arrivals, regrets. & anger, & she was convenient. A poet only has to be aware of when a poem leaps from the specifics to the generalities, or from a human to a deity. If one must implore a goddess, there can be no conversation.

The name of the goddess is Aphrodite. On the tv show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys she was played by Alexandra Tydings & was first viewed far offshore windsurfing on a seashell, sailing closer & closer to the beach. I knew who she was right away. Here comes wonderful trouble, I thought. It was perhaps the most charmingly poetic image I'd ever seen on a TV series, & it wasn't on PBS. The danger with Aphrodite is that she is love without wisdom. She was never a child. Although she's smart, she ain't Athena.

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