To My Valentine

[After 50 years of marriage I have finally discovered what romance was meant to become with time. This poem refers to some of the more delightful moments when we met: our first date at the Thanksgiving banquet at the school; when I first drove her 1964 Chevy Nova rather recklessly; stealing a kiss in the office of the dean of women because the dean left the door open in her absence; the steak dinner I bought Joyce when I couldn’t afford one for me, too. (I ate chili); driving around seeking a place where she and I could be alone. On an early pocket photo she gave me, on the back she referred to me as “a nut.” “…thy love is better than wine.” Song of Solomon 1:2]

A wise man sang a song of old
In sacred verse he would opine.
That love, once found—so we are told—
Is better than the sweetest wine.

Your favorite “nut” cannot forget
But cherish as the best of times
Those early days when first we met:
The mischief and some campus crimes.

Those memories of romantic bliss,
The banquet cast as our first date,
The country rides, a stolen kiss,
Expensive steak I never ate.

My boyish moves surprising you,
Astonished  and caught unaware.
In love and free and all so new,
A college kid without a care.

The awkward laughs, the furtive glance,
The fluttered thrill and yearning sigh,
The heartbeat of a young romance,
The puppy love in days gone by!

Our eyes betrayed a playful smile
My heart did throb excitedly
Just being near you; all the while
Your voice so sweet delighted me.

So slowly through the many years
Life’s challenges consumed my day
Awash with untold countless fears.
The romance? Had it slipped away?

A part of life too soon it seems,
Was somehow lost, or left behind
For bigger hopes and bigger dreams?
(Of truth they say that love is blind!)

A creeping age now claims its prize
An old man’s strength is all but spent
And must I sadly now surmise
Romantic love has come and went!?

A diminished manhood comes with time.
The athlete’s skill is for the youth,
My prowess no longer in its prime;
I miss those days … and that’s the truth.

Yet trapped within this old man’s soul,
Romantic love is still alive.
Outward, indeed, life takes its toll.
Within my love in secret thrives!

Too old for second hand emotions;
Too old for fantasies and frills;
Not hip to all the current notions
Of casual pleasure and all its thrills.

Perhaps it is the fifty years;
Perhaps the life we, two, have shared;
Perhaps the music of the spheres;
Perhaps, some answer to a prayer.

But love is like a gentle wine
Matured with age if given time
Like poetic verse wrote line by line
Our lives became a sacred rhyme.

The mellow tones of love have now
Replaced the drumbeat of earlier days
The message of the marriage vow
Rings truer now in lasting ways.

I pray the young might note this truth:
Romance much like a polished gem
Uncut at first while in our youth
In time bejewels the diadem.

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