A verse for every lesbian Valentine

Heart with pencil through itBY CANDY PARKER

No need to fret if the impending Valentine’s holiday finds you at a loss for words. Whatever your particular variety of lesbian love, be it unrequited, mutual or fading fast, there are countless poems, sonnets and quotations to help express your passion as you mark the occasion.

From Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnet XLIII from Sonnets from the Portuguese” (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”) to Shakespeare’s “18th Sonnet” (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/Thou art more lovely and more temperate”) you’ll find no shortage of poetic prose to assist in articulating your sapphic adoration.

First offered in 1794’s “A Selection of Scots Songs,” Robert Burns’ playful offering “A Red Red Rose” is one of many verses which employ the use of similes to express adulation (“O my Luve’s like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June;/O my Luve’s like the melodie/”That’s sweetly played in tune”).

Percy Bysshe Shelley invoked the elements of nature to illustrate his admiration in “Love’s Philosophy” (“The fountains mingle with the river/And the rivers with the ocean,/The winds of Heaven mix forever/With a sweet emotion;/Nothing in the world is single;/All things by a law divine/In one spirit meet and mingle./Why not I with thine?”)

If unrequited love is what you’re looking to convey — and we’ve all been there at some point, right? — look no further than Robert Browning’s “You’ll Love Me Yet! — and I Can Tarry” (“You’ll love me yet! — and I can tarry/Your love’s protracted growing:/June reared that bunch of flowers you carry/From seeds of April’s sowing./I plant a heartful now: some seed/At least is sure to strike,/And yield-what you’ll not pluck indeed,/Not love, but, may be, like!”). It holds a special appeal for lesbians who love gardening, as well.

If you’re tending to a broken heart for the holiday, you may find solace in Walt Whitman’s “Sometimes With The One I Love” [“Sometimes with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love;/But now I think there is no unreturn’d love — the pay is certain, one way or another; /(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d; /Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)”].

But perhaps the best way to express your lesbian love on Valentine’s Day is to apply the modest, straightforward approach taken by Michael Shepherd in “Love’s Grammar Book”:

“I love you.

That’s it, really.
all there is to say.
sums it up.
in a nutshell.
the long and the short of it.
the be-all and the end-all.
I know what I mean;
you know what I mean.
more or less.
we know what I mean.
most of the time.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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