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Valentine’s poem for my wife

11 February 2013, 10:00

This article contains a Valentine’s poem that I want to dedicate to my lovely wife. My better half. My constant companion and friend of forty-six years. My spouse for *forty-three years. (That’s just some background information.)

The rest of this post contains private stuff; not meant for News24 readers. Stop reading now. NOW, I said! Rammsteen, MarkH, Desilusionada, Leah, BrainCandyCPT, gert_swart, and the rest of you! Stop reading, NOW! (If I see any comments, I’ll know you’ve been cheating.)


First off, my love, let’s just clarify the term “better half.”

This term wasn't originally restricted to referring to one's spouse as we use it now, but to a dear friend (such as you are to me) – a friend so dear that he/she was more than half of a person's being. It is generally considered to mean “the superior half of a married couple.” That is, better in quality rather than in quantity. (This makes sense – I weigh quite a bit more than you do, and you are much better, in quality, than me.)

Secondly, we’ve shared two score and three Valentines together. I’ve always wanted to compose an Earth-shattering, romantic, passionate, amorous poem, just for you. But alas, alack, and woe betide me. A versifier, or writer of prose, I am not.

I’ve tried to write a poem to describe the immeasurable dimensions of my love for you; but I cannot find any words that rhyme with breadth, depth, or width. So, even without a home-grown poem – please believe it – my love for you is huge!

Finally, as proof of my love, I’ve resorted to **borrowing a translation by ***Thomas Hoccleve, of Christine da Pisan’s poem: The Epistle of Cupid (Olde English Version), for you to read.   

The Epistle of Cupid

O, every man oghte han an herte tendre
Unto womman and deeme her honurable,
Whether his shap be either thikke or sclendre
Or he be badde or good; this is no fable.
Every man woot that wit hath resonable
That of a womman he descended is.
Than is it shame speke of hir amis.

An old proverbe seid is in English
Men sayn that brid or foul is dishonest,
What so it be, and holden ful cherlish
That wont is to deffoule his owne nest.
Men to saye of wommen wel it is best
And nat for to despise hem ne deprave
If that hem list hir honour keepe and save.

Ladies eek complainen hem on clerkes
That they han maad bookes of hir deffame
In whiche they lakken wommennes werkes
And speken of hem greet repreef and shame
And causelees hem yeue a wikked name.
Thus they dispised been on every side
And sclaundred and belowen on ful wide.

Do you remember, years ago, when I came home late after the office party? The GIFT of the rhymester was upon me that night! I was reciting this romantic poem – but you thought I was slurringly drunk. Shame on you!

I still love you lots, my better half! Please be my Valentine.

Please! Please! Please!

*forty-three years – it will be 43 years, comes 7th March (See, love! I remembered!)

**borrowing – spoeg en plak

***Thomas Hoccleve (born 1368, died 1450)
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