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Welcome to dVerse, the poets’ bar! It’s the day after Valentine’s Day, so there are paper hearts and rose petals to sweep away, prosecco to wipe up and stray chocolate boxes to tidy! All that romantic stuff discarded overnight. It shouldn’t take me long, and once  I’ve done that, we’ll be good to go!

St Valentine’s Day is an interesting festival, and whether you love it, or loathe it, or don’t really have it on your radar at all, I hope that yesterday brought you exactly the right amount of romance for you! And if it didn’t, well, you can use that as inspiration tonight.

Tonight, I’d like you to write a poem about the Valentines that didn’t happen. The lost loves, the ones that didn’t work out: the holiday romance whose number you lost; the girl you chatted with on a train who was travelling to meet her fiancé; the guy who seemed perfect, but stood you up.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

You don’t have to be specific – it’s the feelings that we’re after – but if you want to give us a narrative, feel free. You can do it poignantly, like Edna St Vincent Millais does here, in a sonnet that always makes my eyes tingle:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why
,I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Or you could be wry and dry, like Wendy Cope is here: https://poetryarchive.org/poem/flowers/

And here’s Walt Whitman, with a poem about the connection you can suddenly feel with a stranger passing by:

To a Stranger

Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

So, give me your lost loves, your broken loves, your loves that never were! The fireworks that didn’t quite go off, the bud that never opened, the seed that failed to sprout.

And when you’ve written your poem, please:

  • Put a link back to here in your post
  • Link your poem up to Mr Linky
  • Read and comment on other people’s poems

One more thing! It’s OLN LIVE on 17th February – live poets doing live poetry!