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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Maps for the Heart

As St. Valentine’s Day draws nigh, I reflexively reach for Ted Kooser’s collection of poems aptly titled: Valentines. Ted Kooser is an American Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. He is a prairie son and, most endearingly, a hopeless romantic.

He began sending valentines to his female friends more than twenty years ago. At first there were fifty lucky recipients. As word spread of Kooser’s doin’s, women asked that they be included on his mailing list. He obliged to the point that he eventually had to give up the practice when the list grew to some 3,000 admirers and the production and postage costs tripped into four figures. So he stopped..."for now."

I thought I’d re-post one of my personal favorites. I grow more attached to it with each passing year, for reasons every fragile old heart can understand:

Map of the World

One of the ancient maps of the world
is heart-shaped, carefully drawn
and once washed with bright colors,
though the colors have faded
as you might expect feelings to fade
from a fragile old heart, the brown map
of a life. But feeling is indelible,
and longing infinite, a starburst compass
pointing in all the directions
two lovers might go, a fresh breeze
swelling their sails, the future uncharted,
still far from the edge
where the sea pours into the stars.

* * *

There’s more.

There’s this – the first Joan Armatrading song I ever heard, more than half my lifetime ago. A song that touched my soul so much so that I’ve listened to it thousands of times over.

Dry Land

Let me sail to the depths of your soul
Let me anchor as near as I can be to your shore
I'm coming into dry land
Been a long time at sea
And the season of loving
Has long awaited me

Tides and waves have kept me
Kept me going
I'm longing for the calm
I'm heading for the pastures
I can see on your dry land
Let the sea that once did take me
Bring me back safe to your door
For I long to touch the dry land of your shore

Clear back to land I'm rowing
Clear the deck let me touch your soul
I'll bring you back a gift of love
And I'll promise you so much more

* * *


Blogger Wine and Words said...

Ancient map of the heart. Wish that there were such a thing. But then I would set a course with my own failed compass and surely not find my way to any heart's harbor. A lovely song Jonas...and the lyrics! "I'll bring you back a gift of love but promise you so much more". Takes more than love doesn't it?

Mon Feb 14, 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger June Calender said...

Again a thank you for the gifts you offer on your blog. I wish I'd been one of the early Kooser ladies but I only discovered him a couple years ago. The heart map is wonderful, as is the poem. Song is rich gravy on top of it all.

Mon Feb 14, 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Kass said...

Thank you for the safe harbor of your words.

I love the celebration of love.

Love being in love with the unexpected delights of the day. Even though I'm not traditionally partnered, I align with things I love; marry my own heart.

Wonderful song.

Mon Feb 14, 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I couldn't help but smile, Annie, that you picked up on what I found to be so true...that it takes much more than love. Yes, there's a whole lot more to it than that. In fact, the "loving" part is prolly the easiest.

Glad you enjoyed the post, June. Here's Ted Kooser's very first "valentine poem." It's a gem:

Pocket Poem

If this comes creased and creased again and soiled
as if I'd opened it a thousand times
to see if what I'd written here was right,
it's all because I looked too long for you
to put in your pocket. Midnight says
the little gifts of loneliness come wrapped
by nervous fingers. What I wanted this
to say was that I want to be so close
that when you find it, it is warm from me.

"I love the celebration of love."
I like that about you, Kass.

Mon Feb 14, 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Selma said...

How beautiful. An ancient map of the heart seems wondrous and almost unattainable like the Holy Grail. It is a lovely thing to think about!

Wed Feb 16, 06:51:00 PM  

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