A Sonnet for St. Valentine

Why should this martyr be the saint of Love?

Why should this martyr be the saint of Love?

Here is a sonnet I composed in honour of the original St. Valentine. I notice some FB posts implying that as an early Christian martyr he has nothing to do with Romantic Love and should be dissociated from it. I believe that on the contrary there is every reason why he should be the patron saint of Love and this sonnet explores why.

As always you can hear the poem by clicking on either the title or the ‘play’ button. This poem is published in my collection ‘Parable and Paradox’

St Valentine

Why should this martyr be the saint of love?

A quiet man of unexpected courage,

A celibate who celebrated marriage,

An ageing priest with nothing left to prove,

He loved the young and made their plight his cause.

He called for fruitfulness, not waste in wars,

He found a sure foundation, stood his ground,

And gave his life to guard the love he’d found.

Why should this martyr be our Valentine?

Perhaps because he kept his covenant,

Perhaps because, with prayer still resonant,

He pledged the Bridegroom’s love in holy wine,

Perhaps because the echo of his name

Can kindle love again to living flame.

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3 Comments

Filed under imagination

3 responses to “A Sonnet for St. Valentine

  1. Lovely sonnet. It turns out that there are two Saint Valentine’s Days, the other being on 2 May, which seems a more likely candidate for a festival of love (being near the Roman Floralia and the Irish Beltane).

    But then there is Saint Dwynwen (the Welsh patron saint of love) in January — so who knows?

    Anyway the celebration of Saint Valentine’s Day as a festival of love is mentioned in Chaucer, so anybody wanting to change it is wasting their time, as it is firmly embedded in popular culture.

  2. Reblogged this on John Ager's Home on the Web! and commented:
    Malcolm Guite is a favourite Christian writer of mine, so I’m pleased to share this on St Valentine’s Day.

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