Now that I have reached the end of this jumping-around-irrationally-at-the-wrong-time-of-year-Advent-calendar-of-blogposts, the question can fairly be asked.
Apart from the specific pre-Christmas season sense, what does advent mean?
The answers may be expressed in a range of definitions: a coming into place or view or meaning; arrival (e.g. of an important event). It is derived from the Latin adventus which means coming. And what is coming tomorrow?
Today is the eve of St Valentine’s Day. I’ll mention before continuing a curious factoid of which you may not be aware. Glasgow, my nearest city, is as much the City of Love as Paris; some would argue Glasgow’s credentials are even stronger.
Inside the Church of Blessed John Duns Scotus located in Glasgow’s Gorbals there is a small wooden casket containing the bones of Saint Valentine’s forearm. Apparently some folk have take their intendeds there to propose beside the relics and statue of St Valentine.
So this is the Eve, the eve of the celebration of the most important emotion or gift that any of us possess. Love covers a wide spectrum and comes in many forms but in most people’s minds St Valentine’s Day is about romantic love, so I’ll try to keep this piece fairly focussed within that meaning.
That said, it is a strange one this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. As someone whose youthful romanticism was not impeded by a virus , I feel sorry for the young people caught up in this unnatural situation. I wrote a very short poem on this topic several months ago, which found its way onto the Pendemic Irish online website.
CV-19: sexual distancing
O what a time to be alive!
To appreciate platonic
Resist relations intimate
By order of the government
Assisted by technology
To do your loving best
Transactions during this time
Confined to contactless
More recently, I was privileged to be included in one of the Dreich Themes 2021 anthologies Things To Do With Love… just published, £6.00 from http://www.hybriddreich.co.uk . Click ‘LATEST BOOKS HERE’.
This anthology carries three of my short poems on a variety of loving themes but, to maintain a lightness of mood here, I’ll include only this one – the first sonnet I’ve written since leaving school. In Smitten, the poet addresses his heart in the following way:-
Though I cannot your steady pounding hear
I must address you now my beating heart.
Your ways are not the steadiest, I fear –
They blind me to the cunning female art.
All the sophistry that I have written
Does not assist me much in this great task.
That you are quite so rapidly smitten,
That fact must change – is that too much to ask?
Do not misunderstand – your ways excite
And lead me to experiences rare.
Adventure-seeking is your basic right
And love would not appear without you there.
I am thankful to you, organ, please know
But need you to be more select and slow
As midnight approaches and the celebratory day is nearly here, I’ll wind this post up with just a few brief observations.
For many, food is an important part of the celebration and I am glad to see that, even in these strange times, there are alternatives to eating out (though there is no doubt most alternatives are inferior). Couples are having Valentine’s meals delivered at home, some from very good quality restaurants. Others are buying prepared romantic meals from supermarkets, requiring the minimum of work at home.
I was also pleasantly surprised to note that one small business is specialising in preparing Valentine’s meals for one person. Without bringing down the mood in an Eleanor Rigby ‘All the lonely people’ sense, I think it is reasonable to point out that there are lots of people living alone on this day and there is no reason they should not celebrate.
Love may be current, past, lost, unrequited, or still awaited and there is nothing wrong with being good to yourself from time to time with a special meal.
I shall certainly be celebrating memories of love tomorrow and wish all loving people out there a brilliant Valentine’s Day.
(I add this reminder that, as the mad Advent Calendar is finished, I shall rest the Blog for a week to focus on other work, and thereafter will post only weekly). Huzzah!