Valentine’s day poems



David Barnett

Some thoughts on love read on Valentines day, 1975 in Cambridge.

On Pairing

by David Barnett

Lovers passing, and lonely wanderers
Breathing all the evening air -
Sometimes meeting, sometimes greeting,
Or a lonely jealous stare.

Time is passing, angels laughing:
See they’ve made a pair!
So it is, the time does come
When loneliness does find its mate
And is itself then stared upon
By those whose time has not yet come,
And looking on with clouded eyes
See not that mate is there.

How Strange is Mankind in Love

by David Barnett

How strange is mankind in love,
Who shoots his bow with aim vain,
Whilst returning love’s regard with disdain.
And should he from his unrequited love recover,
Points his arrow yet again;
But not to this who loves in vain.

And should it make its mark by happy chance,
And love be returned in friendly glance,
Now that kindled passion fans to fire,
Does experience lend a hand and all is well,
Or do the flames, now waxing higher, higher,
Burn a path to hell?

When love’s darts are spent,
Happy is he, who having passion lent,
Finds that deeper love which is not rent;
But in its moments of desire
To express its living breath
Lights anew a passion’s fire.

A Romantic

by David Barnett

The passing countryside was bland
And reading now fatigued his eyes;
A young man fell to musing and sighed:

“Ah-yee! The fickleness of woman!
Woe unto men whom she beguiles to destruction.
I have no alternative:
I must renounce the world of womankind!”

Opposite a sympathetic eye was raised,
A man with an older voice:
“What ails thee my friend?”

“Sir, thou dost intrude upon my thoughts!

“Ah-yee, the fickleness of woman!
What have I not done to hold a love?

“It was for Rosaline I climbed an Alpine height
That she might have some mountain snow.
Yet was my love requited? No!
It melted and there was no consoling her,
Not even with the Eidelweiss.

“Jenny sent me to Tibet
A blue rose to seek.
I could not find that fantastic flower,
So I sent her scent instead
(With some wisdom of the east).

“Toward Moses’ mount in search of Law I went,
For Ruth bade me gain of G-d new tables of the truth.
I turned back (for surely she did mock me thus),
And I did finish with my passion then!

“Ah, the fickleness of woman!”

“My friend, were these mighty deeds for them or thee?
Whom dost thou love?
Any, all, on none?”

“Why sir, one does not stop to ask
When a lady sets a task!
And yet, when I do see it now:
How exciting my life has been.
Yes, I love them all and thank them well!
And yet, I would not any to wife!”

© David M. Barnett


This page revised 6 July 1999