Will you be my Valentine?

Heart | digital art ©️Lesley Scoble

Will you be my Valentine?

I wrote this Valentine rhyme reflecting on my first meeting with my truelove, who remains by my side, ever since. (*allow for some artistic license in this rhyme. This version has the sad unrequited ending).

Will you be my Valentine?
Will you please be mine?
I’ve looked and looked for many a long year
To find a love so fine

To love you all my life
And never be apart
To spend my time with you
And give you all my heart

Our eyes meet in a crowded bar
“Ah. There you are!”
“At last.”
I sigh.
“Will you be my Valentine?”
I ask.
” Not a chance!” is his reply.
And he waves goodbye.

Lesley Scoble — February 2022

My love is like a red red rose

Red rose | Photo: Lesley Scoble

I luve this poem by Robert Burns!

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June.
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
O I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again my love
Though it were ten thousand mile.

Robert Burns 1759-1796

Valentine’s Day: what are its origins?

I’ve known about Valentine’s Day since my early school years, when I would sulk for days if I didn’t receive at least half a dozen cards from unknown admirers on Valentine’s Day. I am not alone in this, am I? Only now I ask, what does it mean? Why is the 14th of February called Valentine’s Day? Who is Valentine? That he should have a whole day when school kids sulk if they don’t get a card with a big red heart on it?

In Roman times there were a lot of romans called Valentine. It was a popular name.

Lupercalia

Ancient Rome was rather partial to holding pagan rites and festivals. One such festival, as far back as six centuries before Christ, was called Lupercalia. It involved the slaughter of dogs and goats and naked men running round, slapping women with their bloodied hides. (Wow! I was born in the wrong era!). Women would be slapped with a goat skin by naked Roman priests. The reason was the belief that it ensured fertility and an easy birth. Another practice (or game?) was to fill a jar with random names to be picked out to pair up couples, with some perhaps making lifetime romantic bonds.

The Lupercalia rite continued into the late 5th century. The Luperci (Priests) carried on running amok, naked and slapping women with bloodied hides—even when under the powerful influence of the Church of Rome! The Pope Hilarius (that’s a funny name) tried without success to get the Emperor Anthemius to abolish the ritual. It carried on until 30 years hence, the Pope Gelasius had the idea to turn the day into a Christian Feast Day (circa 497 A.D.).

Saint Valentine’s Feast Day

Christianity had a tendency to take pagan days to assimilate and merge them into their own festivals. The Romans held Lupercalia on the 15th of February. This date was convenient to turn into a feast day for Saint Valentine. A feast day named after the martyr Valentine (one among several martyrs named Valentine). According to legend, Saint Valentine met his demise on the 14th of February 289, A.D. Executed for his crime of marrying Christian couples in secret. Also, for aiding these hapless, persecuted religious believers in Christianity. There is a story relating the fact that he restored the sight to his gaoler’s daughter and at the moment before his execution, handed her a note. Which said. “Your Valentine”.

Geoffrey Chaucer and the Parliament of Fowls

Geoffrey Chaucer’s promotion of romance in his poem on St. Valentine’s Day is no doubt the reason we might still celebrate it today. In 1370-80 he wrote the poem Parliament of Fowls, in which he popularises poetical romantic ideals. The popular poem sets a trend. Henceforth, securing Valentine’s Day its place in perpetuity as a special day for lovers.

“Seynt Valentynes day — when every foul cometh ther to chese his make”

Geoffrey Chaucer 1370-80

“For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird comes there to choose his mate”. 
Feral doves in love | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Feral Rock Doves/ pigeons
In Love

Feral doves in love | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Feral Rock Doves/ pigeons
In Love

Chaucer wrote in his imaginary poem describing how the Goddess of Nature paired off all the birds on St. Valentine’s Day.
Pair of Wood Pigeons (named Tufty & Woody) | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Wood Pigeons
Loyal pair of wood pigeons

Feral doves in love | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Feral Rock Doves/ pigeons
In Love

Folklore

Legend has it that the first winged creature a young girl may see on St. Valentine’s Day might well predict the type of man she will marry.

  • Seeing a robin means she will marry a mariner or crime fighter.
  • If a blackbird is the first sighting of the day, she may marry a clergyman (no good if she’s Catholic with this one).
  • If the winged creature happens to be a sparrow she will marry someone poor, but be happy.
  • See a goldfinch and she will marry someone rich.
  • See a dove (I also class feral doves/pigeons in this category) she will mate for life.
  • Seeing an owl or a peacock means she might remain unmarried.
  • What if the winged creature she sees first is a dragon? Can she expect to live in a cave with a hoard of enormous wealth?

This Valentine’s Day shall see me popping outside to see what the first bird I see is! I won’t mind what it is. I love all birds. As long as I don’t see a naked priest brandishing a bloodied hide, I’ll be fine.

Love ❤️

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