February, when the end of Winter Greets the start of the start of Spring – And what better time for the ravens to be mating, For these early birds to be doing their thing ? Valentine ravens, tender and dear – They’re mating-for-life for year after year.
Coming out of the edges of the wilderness, From the Northern moors to the middle-class downs – Now nobody persecutes their loving anymore, So they do it in the open and they do it in the towns. Valentine ravens, cawing their love – A far better symbol than a bear-cub or a dove.
Strange, how this day of love Is a day of sneezes and fingers numb. Why does it fall with a deathly chill As the hothouse roses succumb ? Maybe it serves to underscore How love is often bittersweet – Whereas, in the height of Summer, This day would be lost in the endless heat.
Strange, how this day of red Is a day of snowdrops and Winter mould. Why does it fall when the days are short And the nights are bitterly cold ? Maybe it serves to warm the frost, And give our torpid hearts a shove – Whereas, in the height of Summer, Who needs a reminder to fall in love ?
February rolls around, And on comes the propaganda – Singletons are not allowed, We put a downer on the crowd. So February rolls around And ev’rybody has to pander. Haven’t we all heard the songs ? Haven’t we all seen the movies ? Still we seem to get it wrong, And still we just won’t play along, And still we’re far too choosy.
“You there ! You on your own ! Out after curfew ! Come here, sonny ! Where are your papers ? Where are your cards ? And your chocolates ? Oh, so you think this is funny…? I think you’d better tell me which restaurant you’re booked in, And the name of the one you’re meeting, too… You know it’s only lovers who may walk the streets tonight, All spinsters, slobs and nerds must hide from view.”
Ah, ignore me – What am I even getting angry for ? So the world is in love… Would I rather the world were at war ? Go – shout it out, have your fun, And I’ll get on with mine – Just please, never pity me, never that – And we’ll get along just fine.
Loving and laughing are nothing but tricks – Just social conventions we do for the kicks. We desp’rately want to be one of the crowd, And if we suspect, then we do them too loud. We’re unsure and frightened, we’re playing our parts – We want to believe, but we know in our hearts… But sod it, who cares if it’s all in the head ?, We’re gullible fools who are easily led. If love is elusive, it don’t mean it’s broke – For even the cynical like a good joke.
Twenty-Twenty – what a blast, The year when the planets kissed ! We were so young and life so vast, With not a moment missed. We met by chance, we met online, When hiding from the flu – That year I tippled too much wine And fell in love with you.
Twenty-Twenty – let it sing, The year we sang our tryst ! The swallows came upon the Spring, And you had taught me whist. From kitchen top or garden bench, Our screens would share the view, That year I learned to speak in French And fell in love with you.
I know, I know, we were the lucky ones, Laughing along with the doomsayers’ chimes – We weren’t the heroes, we were the stuck-at-homes, Making the best of the worst of times. But when I look back on that strange, strange trip, I’m glad that we saw it through – If I ever must face the Apocalypse, Then the end is much better with you.
Twenty-Twenty – whole world shook In the year when we mustn’t move – I tried and failed to write a book, And saw my cakes improve. I spent all day upon the phone, And watched how the garden grew – In the year of my neighbour’s loud trombone, And falling in love with you.
I know, I know, we were the silly ones, Giggling our way through the horror of it all. I know that we felt it, just like the millions, But those aren’t the memories we choose to recall. I’m glad that we were lived with that strange, strange fate, When the world was surreal and new – If I ever must wait such a lonely wait, Then the lonely’s much better with you.
I’ll gladly say I love you, If you don’t ask if I love you More than all the stars above – For what mere girl can stir up so much love To turn the sternest head ? Nuclear fusion, supernovas, black hole cuties, Diamond-cored and shifted ruby-red – It isn’t fair that I compare you To the very heavens’ beauties Turning all the inky velvet pearled – For they are truly gems from out this world.
I’ll gladly say I love you, If you don’t ask if I love you Till the saline seas run dry. For what mere girl can draw out such a sigh To spring the harshest heart ? Continents crashing, mountains leaping, plates migrating, Magma-cored and slowly wrenched apart – It isn’t fair that I compare you To the very land creating Granite, quartz, and crystals, forged and furled – For they are truly gems within this world.
I’ll gladly say I love you, If you don’t ask if I love you Even more than life itself – For what mere girl can equal so much wealth To spark the jadest eye ? Bejewellèd beetles, primrose blossom, eagles soaring, Helix-cored and left to multiply – It isn’t fair that I compare you To the fruits of blind exploring – Trunks and scales and proteins tightly curled – For they are truly gems upon this world
I’ll gladly say I love you If you don’t ask if I love you Like a this or that or other-hand – For what mere boy can try to understand What all this wonder means ? Ricochet rapture, all things quickly, nothing mildly, Empty-cored and barely out my teens – It isn’t fair that you compare me To a firefly flitting wildly Through the endless lures in which I’m swirled – I’ve never known such gems for all the world.
That first date, you never told me
How afraid you are of moths,
Nor ever interrupted me
To lean across the tablecloth
And gently touch my knuckles like you do
(But didn’t do that night)
To carefully explain how you
Must always sleep upon the right.
You never said how many times
You have to check you have your keys –
Between the starter and the main
You somehow managed not to sneeze,
And while you kept me giggling with your jokes,
You wholly overlooked
To mention just how zealously
You like your pasta undercooked.
You didn’t squeak a pip about
Your overfondness over wine,
That keeps you too afraid to drink.
You didn’t think to spin a line
Of how you’d always rather lie
Than have an argument.
Or how you never understand
Just how your paperbacks get bent.
I guess I’m glad you never told me
What was lying there in wait –
For had I known, I doubt if I’d have
Ever risked a second date.
But when I think of who was sat across the table,
On display –
If that were all you were,
I think we wouldn’t still be here today.
She was born at Solsticetide,
And so they named her Summer –
Blond and bright and beautiful,
And all the Spring a comer.
But once the longest day was done,
She felt the nights draw in,
Just waiting for the Winter low
To let the next begin.
Now I will barely notice how
The evenings have crept,
Until the clocks have messed about
To show how dusk has leapt.
But then, she saw a greater change
Than I, from day to day,
For she grew up in Lerwick town
And I down Jersey way.
We all of us have sneaked a look Beneath the fly-sheet of a book, And fingered off her jacket, bared her boards – Within, she’s nothing but a prude, Her marbled end-sheets firmly glued, Her bindings taut and frayless in their cords. Her underwear is stiff and plain – Her paper blouse must block the stain Of endless greasy paws and sweaty hordes. But she is flimsy in her gown, It tears and creases, lets her down, As grasping, eager hands make careless wards – The better writ, the more she’s read Until her spine is cracked for dead – So dogs shall ear all good books, save the Lord’s. And worse, the paperbacks ! Those dames Who proudly bare their racy names Across their breasts, like penny-dreadful broads – Yet she too welcomes ev’ry leer, Her first of many lovers here Who gorge all words she joyously affords – Though she’s still crisp and virgin-white, Her pages quite uncut and tight, That readers must tease open with their swords.