To set the mood for this column, I composed a short poem:
Through all years and seasons, I tried to find reasons
To gain recognition and earn it.
On Valentine’s Day, coming this Saturday
I might unintentionally ruin it.
I learned very young that cat and rat and boy and toy rhymed, so I started putting such words together. In 7th grade I wrote a poem my teacher liked and I still remember it, but please be merciful and remember, I was only 12 years old.
The American Farmer
In his field he toils, plowing and planting his soil, waiting for crops to grow, the crops that he sweated to sow.
He’s the American Farmer, a man so brave and free.
He’s the American farmer, a person like you and me.
He’s planting to keep the freedom, the freedom his ancestors won.
He’s the American farmer, protecting his daughters and son.
Not Longfellow or Poe by a long shot but I got an “A” and my parents celebrated for a week.
I gave the farmer several daughters, but only one son to rhyme with won. It’s called poetic license but what did I know then? It was war time and we were all in a patriotic mood.
In spite of the poem, we still won the war.
In 1952, I was courting my future wife Dorothy Guidry, (61 years and counting), and from Fort Polk with the National Guard, I wrote her a poem for Valentine’s Day. It was an affectionate satire but dissatisfied after reviewing, I filed and never sent it.
I recently found and revalued it and today she will read it for the first time. So will you. I named it “Another St. Valentine Day’s Massacre,” and despite the title, it’s a love poem, I think!
It might bring me condemnation or humiliation, but at my age all I fear is the inevitability of the unavoidable fate which awaits us all, and what can I do about it, except sip a good wine, and for better or worse, let Dot read the poem I wrote so long ago, and share it with you:
First l declare, my artistic flair, has never had much expectation.
If the heart meant for you, I horrendously drew, please accept it with that limitation.
Though not orthodox, Hallmark won’t think a lot of the words that I’m trying to say. But honey it’s true, I’m expressing to you that I love you, and will every day.
Christmas and Easter and Veteran’s Day, are dates that we always recall. I just don’t think of somebody I love, by a calendar hung on a wall.
May I be allowed to not follow the crowd, like custom tells me that I should do. Some card company will sell one less you see, but I'll write to you words that I want to.
If you’ve set your mind to, that I’m to remind you, I love you on Valentine’s Day. Then I will abide and I’ll go with the tide, but the message I send will be my way.
If you as the reader, consider the meter of this poem as lacking emotion, I’m just satirizing, a custom I’m tiring, like commercializing devotion.
I’ve never been like a stereotype, and clichés are as trite as can be. But darling I love you, and I only want to, express that thought to you from me.
My love will cease never, today and forever, the Fourth of July, Lincoln’s birthday. If gifts you receive, on a Thanksgiving Eve, I’m uniquely courting you my way.
I certainly know, that I always can go, to a store for a Hallmark or two. I’ll cherish forever, each card and each letter that I’ve ever gotten from you.
I just can’t conform to the standard and norm to express my affection it’s true. Though tedious it be, please accept this from me, as my love, eternal for you.
Dot, I still mean it, after all these years, and I dedicate it to you.
Now that I’m older, I have mellowed, so I now join the crowd by wishing lovers, young and old, Happy St. Valentine’s Day.
Comments are welcomed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Tue, February 10, 2015
by Leroy Martin, Contributing Writer