Valentine’s Day, the day for lovers, for people in love and for those in search of that elusive L-O-V-E, has its origin from Christian and ancient Roman traditions. Actually, there were a lot of claims and counter-claims by the so-called experts, scholars and historians on the purported origin of this celebration and tradition.
Nevertheless, it has been celebrated all over the world as the day of hearts and will continue to be so as long as there are romantics and young-at-hearts in our midst.
However, in this materialistic world of ours, where for some people, love is measured by the size of the bling-blings, the number of red roses or dark chocolates, or the high price of the gift bought from that high-end store --
Valentine's Day has become one of the biggest commercial successes in business the world has ever seen, and a lot of people in the business industry have literally been laughing their hearts out all the way to the bank.
Still, to most people, today is a red-letter day, crass commercialism notwithstanding.
I am sharing with you some of the “old- fashioned” love letters that I have gathered from my little red box in my computer archives, back when the human heart was uncorrupted and the human soul had to express itself in the only way that we can say, separating us from the rest of the animal kingdom, through the power of the pen and spoken word---
I have read Ambeth Ocampo’s piece on some of the love letters that our National Hero, Jose P. Rizal received from his paramours.
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Here is one from Suzanne, a Flemish lady who was obviously filled with longing for the brilliant brown man.
“…I hope your courts are open and I shall not have to wait a long time for your decision. Don’t delay too long writing us because I wear out the soles of my shoes running to the mailbox to see if there is a letter from you.”
“There will never be any home in which you are so much loved as that in Brussels, so, you, little bad boy, hurry up and come back. Tell us a little about the kind of house in which you are lodged and how are the people there.”
Hmmm, I guess our hero was not only a prolific man of letters but a certified “babe-magnet“ too, proving once again that most pinoys were naturally born “chick boys.” Ha-ha.
I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?... My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!
You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.
Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.
That was a fiery one written by an equally fiery Napoleon to his wife. No wonder the Little Corporal almost succeeded in turning Europe and the rest of the world upside down.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s immortal Sonnets from the Portuguese revealed the deep and sensitive soul of the writer. Here is another example of her sensitivity and passionate love in a short but heartfelt letter to the love of her life, Robert Browning-
And now listen to me in turn. You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me - my heart was full when you came here today. Henceforward I am yours for everything....
This letter by Mark Twain to his beloved Olivia Langdon showed that the American Humorist and Satirist had a serious side deep within...
Out of the depths of my happy heart wells a great tide of love and prayer for this priceless treasure that is confided to my life-long keeping.
You cannot see its intangible waves as they flow towards you, darling, but in these lines you will hear, as it were, the distant beating of the surf.
Dylan Thomas’ letter to Caitlin showed the Welsh poet’s longing for her as he traveled North America without her by his side.
Have you forgotten me? I am the man you used to say you loved. I used to sleep in your arms - do you remember? But you never write. You are perhaps mindless of me. I am not of you. I love you.
Parting is such a sweet sorrow, as Tsarina Alexandra’s letter to Tsar Nicholas II showed the emotional turmoil one has to face every time a loved one has to travel far from home.
Off you go again alone and its with a very heavy heart I part from you. No more kisses and tender caresses for ever so long -- I want to bury myself in you, hold you tight in my arms, make you feel the intense love of mine.
You are my very life Sweetheart, and every separation gives such endless heartache...
And this one’s for the lonely ones written by yours truly years ago, for the artist who failed to paint his subject as his vision was obscured by the haze of his own creation.
I cannot paint you, my love.
Your calm eyes clashed with the storm in your heart.
Thoughts wrapped alone in the cold, followed the scene
I created; the essence is lost as memories came crashing into
the walls of brown earth and hot kisses going up in smoke.
The colors are smeared, the canvas remained blank and my eyes burnt.
And here’s another one also written years ago, once featured in Dalityapi on-line poetry site; my homage to Innocence…
Her dreams of lonely tales
would touch the
of the human heart
Ah love, so powerful that it can make even the mightiest fall, and always a rollercoaster ride. Here’s one from the Bard himself,
They do not love that do not show their love. The course of true love never did run smooth. Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love.
So, have you ever really been in love?