Don’t look now, but tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. …or Spend Big Money on Your Woman Day, but let us not be jaded. In honor of this celebration of lovers, I’ll share a poem I wrote from the perspective of a minstrel’s hypothetical sweetheart – for few things inspire poetry better than love and minstrelsy. Enjoy, and loving wishes to you all.
* * *
It was not spring.
Such stories are meant for the spring –
the time of new things stirring…
But it was winter yet.
He was cold.
And he said he would not mind, but for his hands.
They’d gone so white.
They’d lost near all their feeling.
They could not do as he bid them, and his soul was wounded sore;
his song a stream the winter cold had frozen.
He needed warmth,
and the world had none to give him.
But I had home and hearth and heat; therefore said I to him:
Come in, and see what I may do
To be the spring for you.
The fire pulled the blood back to his fingers.
The blood drew back the feeling –
pain, first, but then the springtime stirring…
They moved over his instrument anew –
thick and clumsy still,
but more eloquent all the time.
He said he wished to thank me for the thaw;
said were it not winter, he would gather blossoms by the armful –
great bouquets from field and garden –
for the fair flower before him.
But as the ground was barren, it was this he offered me:
Listen, and hear what I may play
To bring you spring today.
His fingers plucked the strings above his lute’s carven rosette.
The notes fell sweet as gentle rain upon my ear and heart.
Inside, I felt the stirring…
his music ended, and it bloomed…!
He said he felt it, too.
And outside, the world was winter.
But for us –
for me and Allyn –
it was spring.