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Here is a sonnet I composed in honour of the original St. Valentine. I notice some Facebook 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 most recent collection Parable and Paradox.

St Valentine

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.

Republished with gracious permission from Malcolm Guite’s website (February 2019).

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