Poets’ Corner: Erika Gordon For Valentine’s Day

Nothing is in stone about the Christian martyr who was buried near Rome on February 14. There were a number of different Saint Valentines: even Pope Gregory had no clue who the guy was when he established a feast in his name in the fifth century. Historians assume the pontiff made that move to white-wash the pagan holiday of Lupercalia, an ancient Roman tradition of worshipping the goat lord Pan (known as Faunus in the Roman cosmology), to rid the city of evil spirits and restore fertility. A dog and a goat were usually sacrificed; salt cakes were burned by vestal virgins; and a good time was had by all. Fast forward to 17th-century Great Britain, when Valentine’s Day became popularly celebrated across the pond. Americans began exchanging hand-made cards and other tokens of affection by the early 1700s. And today? As his barbs hit their mark, Cupid continues to do his happy dance. And poet Erika Gordon, yes the very same whom we hear from about Telluride Film Fest activities in town, tells the abiding, underlying truth of it all in a hard-hitting, un-frilly voice: true love has to begin with self-acceptance, aka, self-love.

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Be the Love

When the dust gathers,
sweep the floor,
when the soil dries,
water the plants,
when mouths are hungry,
bake the bread,
when fear rises up,
tuck in the children,
when you need to be heard,
listen,
when you need to know,
ask the question,
when it gets dirty,
wash the dishes,
when it gets dark,
throw back the curtains,
when nighttime falls,
greet the day,
if you cannot comprehend,
speak only the truth,
if the door closes,
open your palms,
if you lose your way,
walk the path,
if it is love you seek,
be the love.

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Erika Moss Gordon

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