I was reflecting this morning that this is the first Valentine’s Day for three years that I haven’t been involved in some kind of poetry competition or promotion – 2010 and 2011, I was working with Hallmark Cards as a judge on a ‘Twittermantic’ project offering a prize for the best short romantic verse, with the winning words being turned into a card. Great fun and we attracted lots of entries both times.
Last year, I was working with QVC, the shopping channel, as resident poet on a Love Letters campaign to help the British public write messages of love to their loved ones – I turned out hundreds of poems in two days, and it was great fun. Each entrant received a beautiful, specially designed card with a personalised verse inside, and the requests came from sons and daughters, parents and friends as well as romantic interests, the long-married and newly established and those hopeful for relationships to develop. There were some deeply moving stories of loss, illness, misfortune – through which Love had triumphed and endured, and it was such a delightfully endearing project.
Although not publicly involved this year, I am, as well as writing a book about Love in Organisations, deeply engaged in the process of bringing together a new volume of poems called ‘Courage to Love’, and this seems like the ideal time to give you a sneak preview.
This one is called ‘Come to Love’ and seems quite fitting for Valentine’s Day, even if it’s a little alternative. It’s really a statement that hearts and flowers and romance are not the essence of lasting love. We need more of the kind of love that endures and grows, standing up to all kinds of challenges and upsets, just like every aspect of human life. A Love that is present not only between couples and in families, but throughout our lives, including our work, our politics, and the way we engage with nature and the environment – in fact, throughout the planet, even the cosmos.
I like to think of us rising and standing in love, strong and courageous and loyal, collectively, rather than falling in love and being infatuated, on a hormonal high which inevitably recedes and leaves us wondering what we saw in that person in the first place. A Love that simply Is…not always easy, but one we know will endure the ups, downs and broadsides of human life.
I dedicate this poem to Love - as a way of being and becoming; inclusive, extensive and pervasive, bringing the joy and spirit of human flourishing to us all.
Happy Valentine’s Day – Loving Every Day, Every Loving Day