poems, 7

poems index
© Lisa Sarasohn 2000

St. Valentine's Day

This Valentine came in the mail today —
the fe-male, that is:
Greetings from history in women's terms.

Valentine's Day is a fraud, of course, you know that,
Hall-marked and carded as it is for commerce.

But more than that:
The boy himself's a fraud.
St. Valentine's a fiction, the convenient invention
of some grim Christian churchmen.

What Valentine's Day is:
it's a thin distillation of our
midwinter night fever;
the celebration of our sexual heat and staying alive.

In old Ireland, for example, on the first of February
we'd celebrate Imbolg,
light our night fires, dance enlivening spirals
around woman's birth-giving belly and
Goddess Danu's food-yielding fields.

In old Rome,
we took February 15th
to join with Juno Februata, Great Goddess:
She who ignites the fire of our sexual frenzy
and brings the match to our mating,
She who names the essence of a woman's soul
and where the fever starts.

Celebrating Herself as she stirs in us,
we'd choose among the notes bearing another's name
to find the partner with whom we'd play
the whole night through,
unleashing the febrile heat between our legs,
reveling in the night-long riot of sexual pleasure.


The grim Christian churchmen,
despising our heathen practice,
determining to dowse our fires,
inserted their pious sermonettes
into our love-note lots.

A group of Christian heretics, however —
the Valentinians,
taking their name from Latin valentia,
meaning strength, valor, value, validity,
enacted Februata's central sacrament:
intercourse among the angels,
substantiating the sacred marriage of
Sophia, Great Goddess, with her consort.

After vanquishing the Valentinians,
the grim Christian churchmen
took the heretics' title to name
the prim and pallid patron of lovers
they concocted to replace the feisty Februata,
and the love-notes we now deliver
in this thin distillation of our
midwinter night fever,
which we take to be St. Valentine's Day.

however She may be devalued and invalidated,
Her fever remains within us.
Pulse quickens, breath coarsens, skin flushes,
sweat shimmers, convention shatters
uniting us in Her,
shot through with the insistent, valiant
impulse for staying alive.

When we forget our sexuality is sacred
we consign our bodies
         to pornography.


poems index
information & inspiration