Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Light of St. V

Let me share with you, tiny figments of my past:

Back in those days, I was an awkward teenager. With a doubtful self esteem, a rich imagination and struggling with kids who insist on superficiality (much more so for I was, and still am, far from slim), Valentine's Day was a source of fascination.

Here's a day when your love flourish you with attention, and I yearn for it. A day when dewy roses and sticky chocolates make their way to your heart via Cupids on motor kapchai, and I want it. It didn't matter if I don't have that someone to share it with. What matters is that my mind is free to roam a parallel universe where I was queen.

Then of course, years flew by instead of crawling like they used to when I was younger. Now, I can confidently claim to be a V-Day skeptic. Not because it is un-Islamic, come on, it even predated the rise of Christianity. Not because it promotes sex/physical lust. But simply because, I am sure many of you might just nod along with me, V-Day became an excuse for people to spend just one day out of a whole year to show that love can indeed conquer all.

So yes, thank you but no thank you St.V, I don't just celebrate love on your day, I celebrate love every friggin second I can. But of course, I won't stop you from celebrating it. Why? Because I love LOVE :)

PS: Allow me to share with you an art that died along with Hallmark's rise to fame i.e. the timeless love letter. This one was written by Keats. (italicised lines indicated where I swooned audibly)

Postmark: Newport, July 3, 1819

Shanklin, Isle of Wight, Thursday

My dearest Lady — I am glad I had not an opportunity of sending off a Letter which I wrote for you on Tuesday night—'twas too much like one out of Rousseau's Heloise. I am more reasonable this morning. The morning is the only proper time for me to write to a beautiful Girl whom I love so much: for at night, when the lonely day has closed, and the lonely, silent, unmusical Chamber is waiting to receive me as into a Sepulchre, then believe me my passion gets entirely the sway, then I would not have you see those Rhapsodies which I once thought it impossible I should ever give way to, and which I have often laughed at in another, for fear you should [think me] either too unhappy or perhaps a little mad.

I am now at a very pleasant Cottage window, looking onto a beautiful hilly country, with a glimpse of the sea; the morning is very fine. I do not know how elastic my spirit might be, what pleasure I might have in living here and breathing and wandering as free as a stag about this beautiful Coast if the remembrance of you did not weigh so upon me I have never known any unalloy'd Happiness for many days together: the death or sickness of some one has always spoilt my hours—and now when none such troubles oppress me, it is you must confess very hard that another sort of pain should haunt me.

Ask yourself my love whether you are not very cruel to have so entrammelled me, so destroyed my freedom. Will you confess this in the Letter you must write immediately, and do all you can to console me in it—make it rich as a draught of poppies to intoxicate me—write the softest words and kiss them that I may at least touch my lips where yours have been. For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days—three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain. But however selfish I may feel, I am sure I could never act selfishly: as I told you a day or two before I left Hampstead, I will never return to London if my Fate does not turn up Pam or at least a Court-card. Though I could centre my Happiness in you, I cannot expect to engross your heart so entirely—indeed if I thought you felt as much for me as I do for you at this moment I do not think I could restrain myself from seeing you again tomorrow for the delight of one embrace.

But no—I must live upon hope and Chance. In case of the worst that can happen, I shall still love you—but what hatred shall I have for another!

Some lines I read the other day are continually ringing a peal in my ears:

To see those eyes I prize above mine own
Dart favors on another—
And those sweet lips (yielding immortal nectar)
Be gently press'd by any but myself—
Think, think Francesca, what a cursed thing
It were beyond expression!


Do write immediately. There is no Post from this Place, so you must address Post Office, Newport, Isle of Wight. I know before night I shall curse myself for having sent you so cold a Letter; yet it is better to do it as much in my senses as possible. Be as kind as the distance will permit to your

John Keats

Present my Compliments to your mother, my love to Margaret and best remembrances to your Brother—if you please so.

2 poetic mutterings:

Baronhawk said...

Dearest Sheena,

I do hope this missive finds you well my lady, in the fine accomplishments of your daily routines and the happier moments in between.

If it not be too forward, I would also like to wish you your happiness on this day where love is being celebrated.

May it extend to fill the rest of your days and moments.

May the glory of love-letters lost, in time be returned to the likes of Keats' repast.

May the lingual loving lilt which men and women artfully express themselves, be soon reinstated in this our day and age.

May misspelled short form SMSes and 'going commando' no longer be the way society consign their Valentine heart throbbing moments.

May love be experienced and celebrated, throughout life times, rather than just one day within the Gregorian accounting.

But I digress, 'tis lovely to find that such cognizance of the tender arts still alive and well amongst our more 'modern' populace.

That lacy words and warm felt thoughts still drew fire, enamouring ladies and tickling wits.

Perchance, it lies there still, this 'lost art' of gentle wills. Ladies and proper gentlemen who strove to bridge hearts, whilst engaging minds.

At least to one gentle-hermit upon the Putra Hills who sought to court the mind of a lady in beautiful Gombak's lee.

Whose sepulcher of thoughts are filled to the brim with tender words and love-letters unwritten, waiting to be unleashed.

On that note, I end my missive with some words from Hora Borza Zorbul:

"Love is like shade in lonely climes, it breaks the monotony of the sun. But it tends to hide unasked for dividends, some to die for, while others makes men run and women cringe. Love letters for one, may be an august affair or the tiny delicious snowflakes which may soons bury its intended in avalanche."



P.S. Do present my most puissant affections to Kak TJ, Midge, Shan and your lovely students.

Sheena Baharudin said...


It is indeed lovely to be on the receiving end of a well written letter. Allow me to bask in its warmth :)

Cheers! See you this Sat!