When love is not madness, it is not love.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca
I was leafing through a Country Life magazine in the library in my lunch hour yesterday as there are often interesting snippets in it. I have discovered an artist I had not come across called Arthur Hacker, (1858-1919). I expect you all know of him but my education is often sadly lacking. I have picked one of his pictures to illustrate a wee poem about Valentine's Day. It is a bleak poem which is about love but not the happiest aspects of it so I am posting it before Monday when I expect the day to be a happy one, full of Cupids, arrows, soft nothings and anonymous messages of love.
Vale of Farewell
The idea for this poem came to me when I was driving. It is a true story, based on real people who shall obviously have to remain anonymous.
He has lost his wife.
Some folk said he should have been more careful,
that the cause was his neglect.
He swore she was not lost,
that he had just mislaid her
but now she lays with another.
He lives a solitary life now
in their longhouse below a Welsh mountain.
Memories of their sweet union still hang around the yard.
Even the hills are sexy, their curves seem way too beautiful;
symmetrical, symbolic, their view from the cottage
both attract and pain him in equal measure.
He has joined a dating site and goes on nervous assignations
but the women all seem coarse and not remotely like his wife,
the one he swears is calling to him from some secret place.
She is still arty, awash with sweetness and a cool allure
which he knows can quickly sway according to that moody moon.
He looks out for her in special hope upon the feast of Valentine.
Sometimes she is dominant and close,
sometimes distant, hidden and reserved.
but he believes that she is there and that she calls to him alone,
that she is waiting for the moment to return
that life will return to normal
and that everything will be the way it always used to be,
before he had woefully mislaid her.