A different take on Saint Valentine’s Day

2013-02-14 00:00

LEGEND has it that Valentine was an early Christian

Imprisoned and martyred in Rome for his opposition to the Emperor.

Before his death he is said to have sent a letter to his gaoler’s daughter signed, “From your Valentine”.

This is the origin of the Valentine’s day card. Was

it a poignant love-letter written by a passionate

young man about to die for his ideals?

Whatever happened, the legend that slowly grew

up around the incident over the centuries has now

become a global celebration of one of humanity’s

most redemptive traits.

Love endures, despite the seemingly endless injustice

and violence of our troubled species, and, in fact,

prompted this take on its wider mystery.

Love and evolution.

Nothing on earth can be more beautiful than love.

Above war’s smoking ruins, the corpses of its dead,

Above the shacklands of the poor, a wrecked romance,

Love slowly lifts his battered, bloody head.

This is my faith, this makes me haunt faith’s underworld,

So maddened that our species is so slow to learn

I shake a prophet’s placard at the hurrying crowds.

Love each other, I cry, or bleed and burn!

Chris Mann (honoury poetry professor at Rhodes University)

Note to the graphic designer: the first part of the piece is prose and can be treated as such. Please keep the formatting of the poem exactly as is, however, if necessary making a text box for it, in order to keep the lines unbroken for the reader as they are rhythmical and semantic units. Thank you. CM

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