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My Valentine

February 15, 2013

The following are all poems I have written to my husband who is still my Valentine after more than 35 years.  Not all of the poems I wrote to/for/about him, but just over a bakers dozen.  Happy Valentine’s Day to lovers everywhere.


Your  lips
intoxicate mine
hands in my hair
I touch your face
love wells
fills  spills out fingers
hair   mouth
every pore
And I see your eyes
even with mine closed
so blue           blue
full of sunshine blue
a sky so deep I
could never reach
I dare not breathe
hear your heart
dance louder  harder  faster
pulse spins
dashes against my palms
Our skin
marries us    says
this moment is forever
happily ever after
the way I still feel
your hand
across our years
where it touched my shoulder
long before you said
the words   I love you
set them
in stone
to echo
out of each day’s room
our skin repeats
we do
we do


We played bridge at lunch time
choosing each other
as card partners
drinking coffee, snacking
too occupied with our game
to really eat lunch.

All those years ago
in my secret hope
before you were mine
I imagined the perfect gift
I wanted to give you
for Valentine’s Day.

I looked for a cup
painted on it
the King of Hearts.
It would be from
your secret admirer.
Would you guess?

You were already
my King of Hearts:
a secret secret
no one knew except
for my heart
declaring your name.

Twenty some years later
I give you this pot
deep red tulips
to brighten your office
as I welcome you home
my Valentine
my King of Hearts.


There’s the day
closing the covers
on pluses      minuses
triumphs        trash
done   yet to be done

There’s the bay
in the dim ashy
smoke past twilight

There’s dinner
contemplation of
possibilities   aromas
spread across our table

There’s little feet
from the past pasted
into family photos
future plans
the next album
of memory building

There’s this moment
my arm sliding across
his torso   warm sumptuous skin
my fingers trailing

I ask him
what he thinks about
while he drives home
from work
he says

the crystal strands of night
with their own melody

weave us into their spell

if only
 we are quiet

with the entirety of our flesh
here in the silence

I spell the refrain
on your body
with my singing fingers

listen to the tempo of

your heart’s contribution
to all this music


When each to each our lover’s vows were sworn,
And we returned to living every day
Where ordinary times and things hold sway,
Where each day’s ending finds us tired and worn,
Sometimes with a grief that we must mourn,
Then as the years go by will we still say:
“Amazing how we always find a way
To keep our love continually reborn.”?
And with the passing of the months and years,
While love’s first passion fades, as it must do,
This deeper love will grow to fill its place
Withstanding worry, pride or caustic fears,
So you still turn to me, as I to you,
Strengthened, blessed by this greater love’s embrace.


The air that year
was distilled for lovers.
Cupped with softness
too early to be spring
it held a quality of light that
enhanced clarity of vision.

I called him from a nearby shopping center.
Looking back, perspective
shows the hill, February green,
a steep round shouldered mound
rising behind the stores
the neighborhood where I lived then.
I could not see that view
from the pay phone
where I talked, telling him
whatever it was I called to say.

At conversation’s end
he said
“I love you.”
Those words
solidified instantly
became basalt.
I knew they would remain


I always thought I was
a frog
or maybe a toad–
not that there’s anything
inherently wrong
with amphibians–
but would you want to be one?

It never occurred to me
that I was a princess under a spell–
except as a child
hoping I’d been given
to people who weren’t my parents
because we didn’t live in a palace
they weren’t rich
and we didn’t have maids–
nothing to do with pollywogs
enchanted or otherwise…

But you believed
I was a Princess
in spite of everything
and all the evidence to the contrary.
So, I became one.


atoms dance
molecules become excited
and before your eyes
solids fade
become invisible
in a flash of light

heat and cold
wind on the water
the sun shining
the earth turns
to view the moon
fog rising
obscures everything

I told you
I was a witch and you
believed me
your cells betrayed you
brewed chemicals
to bespell your brain
were never necessary

We have fallen into the place
           where everything is music

more than touch
this silken presence of your body
skin quietly against skin
an aching pleasure that breathes song

I am lost in notes like trees in mist
where we walk up the night hill
your heart taps a staccato beat
like fog drip on the forest floor

diminuendo as we glide down toward home
into darkness gathering
wrapping us into the softness
of sleep opening dreams

where music floats through
a bright ribbon of being
carries us along a stream
where air and water
are buoyant and breathable

where dark and light
pull us deeper into
velvet silences
between the notes


hearts and flowers
chocolate and candles
cards and kisses
lose their power

After thirty years
I am not moved
by anything less
than all the wild memories
of being lost in your smile
drowning in your eyes
the mystery
of becoming us
of breath and blood


Arms around arms around arms
we hold each other close
slow dance
sway to music
moving our feet
just a little
cheek to cheek
head on your shoulder
we drift to soft melodies

the world goes by
leaps and twirls
plays loud angry music
but I hear
your heart beat
sing softly
steady against
my ear

we celebrate life
from year to year
treasure each moment
wonder at the wealth
that builds this castle
about us
spun of love
bright waltzes which
weave us
into this dance.


hearts beat between our lips
strawberries dipped in chocolate
or cinnamon-red-hots explode
dazzle like sparklers
fireworks, shooting stars, still,
my every-day-Valentine
a dance of pinwheels whirling
a fountain of bright sun-flashes, or
simply the glow of coals
between two logs in the woodstove
a dream of home: safe, snug, warm

(published in Living Buddhism)

the following poem was written by my husband’s suggestion:


Tap, tap, tap.
Click, click, click.
The song of the knife
against the cutting board.
Home from work
I sit at the computer;
she’s at the kitchen table.
Soon a sizzle from the frying pan,
the aroma of onions and garlic
will permeate the house
as they soften.

Tap, tap, tap.
Click, click, click.
She embraces me from the other room,
kisses me with this sound.
Her love fills the air;
my mouth waters at the sweet scent
like the spice of her smile;
her eyes call me to the table;
her lips entice me
as they soften.


morning ritual
you depart for the office
leave a kiss to linger
with coffee
the hunt for poetry–
your lips suggest
music lurking
spark daydreams
which run about writing
fantastic scenes
posters on the walls
of the brain
summon words
to dance with the lady
who grows roses
or daisies or nasturtiums
who sings with the frogs
every rainstorm–
you know the one
that woman who’s led you
a merry chase all these
years and still lets
her hair down in your bed
every time you
manage to catch her–
then she banishes words
invites only
laughter and tears
only music and eyes
endless eyes
to spin the old spells
offers lips to steal
your breath
your heart —
she gives
your breath back
but keeps your heart


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