Florists, chocolatiers, lingerie merchants and jewelers are devoted to that chubby cherub and his quiver of arrows. School children are eager to eat cupcakes topped with conversation hearts and stuff die cut cards into decorated shoe boxes. Same sex couples are poised to stage Valentine’s Day protests for marriage rights. Millions of smartphone users are titillated by texts spicy enough to have made great-grandma blush . . . had she been able to decode them.
This ever evolving chaos has been been part of American culture for quite some time, and it’s here to stay. Mass produced greeting cards became popular in the mid-19th century. By the mid-20th century, the tradition had expanded to include gift giving. (Comedian Jay Leno has nicknamed February 14th “Extortion Day.”)
In that spirit of hearts and flowers, I bring you two of my favorite humorous Valentine’s Day poems:
To my Valentine
— by Ogden Nash
More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That’s how much I love you.
I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.
As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That’s how much you I love.
I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.
I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oathes,
That’s how you’re loved by me.
— by Billy Collins
Wishing you all you’re wishing for . . . plus a little chocolate . . . on this celebrated day!