Photo by Sergi Melki, Creative Commons license via Flickr.
Start Your Love Journey With Ritual
One of the great things about ritual is that it builds remembrance into our lives. It's especially helpful when life gets going, and we're otherwise prone to forget.
Ritual can be daily, monthly, yearly. Valentine's Day and Poem on Your Pillow Day are forms of annual ritual, for instance, that help us remember to bring out the chocolates (and maybe the great chocolate poems).
In ancient Japanese culture, only the lover who began with poetry (chocolate wasn't an option and it wouldn't have demonstrated intellectual and romantic prowess in quite the same way) was able to get somewhere lasting in love.
Hint, hint: the Japanese were right. Poems are small intimacies that can woo a heart and keep it close. Why not begin a ritual of poetry exchange, starting on your honeymoon? When life gets going, you can come back to this perhaps on a monthly basis (you choose the day or make it a surprise) or once a year on the holidays meant to help you remember.
10 Great Honeymoon Pillow Poems
Our backs break in loving--
and then the rest of us.
Your cave nose, my lily ankle.
Our bed gets lost inside our bodies
like a small boat dinking around the Pacific.
Mattress and box springs shudder
into the size of a baby's wrist,
the once-safe haven of sleep
inside our mouths.
--Dave Malone, from O: Love Poems from the Ozarks
I put my fingers
to your face. There, ivory.
I put my belly to your belly.
To your mouth, I put
my mouth. Pearl, and more
pearl. I put my toes between
your knees, and trace upwards.
--L.L. Barkat, from Love, Etc.
Your whole body has
a fullness or a gentleness destined for me.
When I move my hand up
I find in each place a dove
that was seeking me, as
if they had, love, made you of clay
for my own potter's hands.
Your knees, your breasts,
are missing parts of me like the hollow
of a thirsty earth
from which they broke off
we are complete like a single river,
like a single grain of sand.
--Pablo Neruda, from The Captain's Verses: Love Poems
The cartographer married the exile,
tantalized by the taste of road
when he took her into his mouth,
wanted her, with that wander eye,
as if the last veil
was composed of miles
between them--the revelation
of contour, of gully and incline
in delicate copper, ochre, viridian blue.
She murmurs a litany between
the pillow hours--
Cebolleta--names he cannot find
on any map,
suspects are old lovers.
It is his delight
to name the constellations crossing
in his own language,
to watch weather
shape them back again
to what she knew,
to what he guesses
her landscape was.
--Anne M. Doe Overstreet, from Delicate Machinery Suspended
(Yes, the following poem is more humor than romance, but it won't hurt to start with a bit of wit on the honeymoon. No doubt, you're going to have tired moments, and one of the best ways to bridge them will be with a laugh.)
Oh, Mariachi Me
All my life I have wanted nothing so much
as the love of women. For them I have fashioned
the myth of myself, the singing troubadour
with the flashing eyes. Always for them
my black sombrero with its swinging tassels,
this vest embroidered with hearts, these trousers
with silver studs down the seams. Oh, I am
Mariachi me, as I had intended. I am success
and the price of success, now old and dusty
at the edge of the dance floor, still smiling,
heavy with hope, clutching my dead guitar.
--Ted Kooser, from Valentines
A pomegranate just splitting, a peach just furry,
a fig with wrinkled flesh and juicy bottom,
a purple cluster (thick-berried well of wine),
nuts just skinned from their green peelings--these
the guardian of the fruit lays here for Priapus:
for this single shaft in the wilds, the seed of trees.
--Diodoros Zonas, from Love Poems
O You Whom
O you whom I often and silently come where you are that I may be with you,
As I walk by your side or sit near, or remain in the same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.
Wild Nights, Wild Nights! (269)
Wild Nights - Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile - the winds -
To a heart in port -
Done with the compass -
Done with the chart!
Rowing in Eden -
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor - Tonight -
He has come, he is here,
My love has come home,
The minutes are lighter
Than flying foam,
The hours are like dancers
On gold-slippered feet,
The days are young runners
Naked and fleet--
For my love has returned,
He is home, he is here,
In the whole world no other
Is dear as my dear!
--Sara Teasdale, from Flame and Shadow
Come quickly--as soon as
these blossoms open,
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.
--Izumi Shikibu, from Love Poems