friday feast: words of love

“Love is love’s reward.” ~ John Dryden

Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

We all know work, but sometimes we forget what it means to play. Busy busy lives, never enough time, voices saying, “should, must, do, finish, now.” Hurry! Pull this way, pull that. Do you ever feel guilty allowing yourself even the simplest of pleasures?

Next Tuesday, while you are remembering significant others, friends, and family with flowers, cards, and chocolates, pencil yourself in. Spread the love, but also take time to love yourself ♥ — enough to bask in the beauty, bathe in the moonlight, and do at least one thing that truly makes you happy.


by Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

~ from Sweet Ruin by Tony Hoagland (University of Wisconsin Press, 1992), winner of the Brittingham Poetry Prize


My list:


What special word(s) are on your list?

♥ Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup Host is the lovely and talented Laura Salas (Writing the World for Kids), who’s celebrating her 24th wedding anniversary this week. Here’s a special song in honor of Laura and Randy, still a couple of kids getting lost in a morning star. We wish them at least  100 more happy years together. (Definitely on Laura’s list = love.)

Now, race over to Laura’s atop your white steed, wish her well, and enjoy all the wonderful poems being shared around the blogosphere today.

May time and light be abundant this weekend.

*Photo credit: wedding bouquet by A_wasp/flickr.


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

38 thoughts on “friday feast: words of love

  1. for some reason i want to fin a way to make the uncrossed-out words on your list into a poem. mccartney macarons / & an air migration potluck…

    as our wedding anniversary was last week so my sweetie and i tend to celebrate valentines day then. actually, our first date was chinese new year, so our “actual” anniversary is a floating holiday that we try to honor as well.

    but on the 14th i think i’ll be making firecracker shrimp. around these parts, that’s love.


    1. I like the idea of a floating holiday — also making it an extended one. 🙂 Firecracker shrimp sounds wonderful *licks chops*. Send any leftovers my way.

      McCartney macarons? Double ecstasy!


  2. I just printed out Tony Hoagland’s poem yesterday to share with my poetry group. Isn’t it marvelous? I like Dave’s uncrossed-out poem of your words. What would McCartney Macarons taste like? His favorite flavor, I suppose. Something vegetarian!


    1. Great minds think alike! Love your taste in poetry :).

      Now Dave’s got me contemplating McCartney Macarons too. Would it be something like a honey pie only crispier?


  3. Sitting here in sunlight receiving your gift of a poem seems almost as if I’ve already made my list. What a lovely poem, Jama, & new to me so it is a surprise gift! I believe my list would always start with time, but brownies as a second and then for today, “day off”. Love the part in the poem “pleasure/
    is a thing/that also needs accomplishing.” It might title my list. Thank you!


    1. Love your words — funny you should mention brownies because today is National Eat a Brownie Day! I have to consciously remind myself that “pleasure is a thing that also needs accomplishing.” For many people, it’s easier to work than to play. But we all need both, to find balance.

      I like imagining you sitting in the sunlight. Have a great weekend!


  4. Your Poetry Friday posts are oases (is that the plural of oasis?) this year, Jama. Deep breaths. Smile. I can’t help but be with David, though, on wanting to play with those crossed-out words… Nutella, journal, and raspberries are calling somehow. [But we can leave closet crossed out – I’ve been cleaning them lately, and one must take breaks for sunlight.]


    1. I was proud to cross out closet. Got rid of some clothes, finally. Of course I have a few more closets to tackle and then some drawers, but each step is a big accomplishment.

      You can see by Nutella and raspberries that I’ve already rewarded myself. I’m anxious now to listen to Sir Paul’s brand new album, just released this week, full of old standards — perfectly romantic for V-day — it’s called “Kisses on the Bottom.”


  5. Jama, I love this poem! It needs to be on my fridge. My lists have boring words like “clean” or “exercise” or “shop.” Time for “SMILE” and “CHOCOLATE” and “READ ALPHABET SOUP.” Actually, today I have “PACK” on my list for a very exciting trip to Philly and NYC. Decidedly not boring.


  6. Hello Jama! What a lovely post and poem. I’ve missed visiting your beautiful corner of the web. I love this poem and agree that it deserves a special place. Since I can’t stick anything to my stainless fridge, I think I’ll post it above my desk where I can read it every day.
    My list has many boring words, but it also includes poetry, chocolate, picnic, and reading. I can’t imagine anything better, except love!


  7. What a feast your page is, Jama! These lines really appealed to me:
    and to remind you
    among your duties, pleasure
    is a thing
    that also needs accomplishing.
    ….strange as it may seem, this is something I do need to remind myself to do!


    1. Those are my favorite lines, too. So many of us need to be reminded of this. Having “poetry” on our lists at all times will likely provide the spiritual and emotional nourishment we need.


  8. Oh dearest Jama, visiting your blog feels like a blessing in and of itself – definitely part of my list this Valentine’s. And yes, I am penciling down this poetry of yours that has made me sigh for moonbeams and starshines.

    Just the other night as I was finishing up on work – I saw the full moon – all aglow – quite alone in the sky, no discernible stars beside it – standing with quiet strength by itself in the night sky. I couldn’t stop staring. Such bliss. 🙂


    1. Oh, moonbeams and starshine! Beautiful things for your list. I know what you mean about the moon. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of it, especially on clear nights when it’s full and feels so close. So silent and powerful and mysterious. 🙂 Have a lovely Valentine’s Day, Myra! ♥


  9. Thank you for the reminders:
    1. I only have 100 years to live.
    2. I need to make my to-do lists full of LIFE and not just TASKS…or else, I need to let up on/abandon list-making…

    I think you poem and mine are “cousins” this week!


    1. Hooray for related poems! Yes, we must remember to put “life” on our to-do lists in addition to tasks. 🙂 One of Len’s aunts passed away last night. She was 99. She lived a full life and amazed everyone till the end.


  10. Your list is inspiring me, Jama.

    Is there such a dish as a Raspberry Nutella? Perhaps a mousse-like confection with a dash of cognac and a sprig of mint for garnish?

    I can already taste it.



    1. Mmmmmm, love the way your mind works, Maria. I’ll have to look up Nutella mousse. There must be a recipe somewhere, perhaps listed at the World Nutella Day site? I’ve always liked the combination of chocolate and raspberries.


  11. On a day when “replace hard drive” and “take damaged hard drive to Mac repair place and pray they can save all my unsaved files” were on my to do list, Tony Hoagland’s poem was a real gift. Luckily, I had “coffee with a friend” on the list too. Thank you, Jama!


    1. Oh, no! Sorry to hear about the computer problems. Nothing worse. Hope they were able to retrieve your files. I’m glad the day wasn’t a total disaster and hope the rest of the weekend is much better.


  12. Thank you, Jama! Aw, 100 Years. My absolute favorite song for many years now.

    And, thank you for this poem. I feel like it was written for me, somehow. Did I meet Tony and not realize it:>) I am adding this book to my wish list right now. This poem alone will be worth the cost.


  13. Lovely post! Such beautiful thoughts. Great list! I love that first shot, pretty picture.


  14. ah!

    a friend who could send sunshine as a present!

    that’s rather what poems seem like…arriving from another place and time, coming just when we need them.

    thank you, Jama!


  15. Oh wait! Up there at the top – is that a heart shaped palmier? I think I have inspiration now for breakfast on 2/14. Yum!


  16. Yes, you’ve got sharp eyes (and probably a good nose for baked goods)! The one up there is quite small (it’s a dolly’s teaset). Cornelius ate at least 3 of them. 🙂


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