I am not to speak to you-I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone-Walt Whitman

This is to all the people who don't have Valentine's day plans, who haven't had valentine's day plans for a few years, this is to the beautiful young teacher I met yesterday who plans on getting drunk with her girlfriends this weekend and singing karaoke, this is to all the men who for whatever reason never called back, this is to all the men I almost spoke to, but was afraid of what they would think of me, this is to all the men who have wanted to speak to me, who have looked at me and pondered what to say and then decided for whatever reason it was better to be silent, this is to all the girls I wish I could love, but unfortunately biology has overwhelmed me, this is to all the men that I had to walk away from, this is to being so heartbroken that even eighties songs sound profound, this is to the hopeful rush of every new phone number pressed into a hand...this is to all of you.

36. S'io credesse per morte essere scarco

If I believed in dying I could free myself
from amorous thoughts that bind me to the earth,

I would already have laid these loathsome limbs

and their burden in the earth myself:

but because I fear to find a passage

from tears to tears, and one war to another,

I remain in the midst, alas, of staying and crossing

on this side of the pass that is closed to me.

There has been enough time now

for the merciless bow to fire its final arrow

bathed and dyed already with others blood:

yet Love does not take me, or that deaf one

who has painted me with her own pallor,

and still forgets to call me to her.

( Please note I have spliced some of Robert Durling's translation into the one I used from here.)

From a contemporary poet of Petrarch who also loved a lady:

And what, my song, will ever be of me
in the sweet season new, when from all skies
a rain of love descends upon the earth,
when even in this frost
love lives in me alone, and nowhere else?
Surely I will become a man of marble
if this my maiden for a heart has marble.

( For the rest of the poem-or the poem in the original Italian-go here)

But of course, when it comes to bittersweet love, I think we all agree you can't beat Parker:

The Lady's Reward

Lady, lady, never start
Conversation toward your heart;
Keep your pretty words serene;
Never murmur what you mean.
Show yourself, by word and look,
Swift and shallow as a brook.
Be as cool and quick to go
As a drop of April snow;
Be as delicate and gay
As a cherry flower in May.
Lady, lady, never speak
Of the tears that burn your cheek-
She will never win him, whose
Words had shown she feared to lose.
Be you wise and never sad,
You will get your lovely lad.
Never serious be, nor true,
And your wish will come to you-
And if that makes you happy, kid,
You'll be the first it ever did.

(For a more complete collection of rhyme and cycnicism go here)

Or perhaps, put most bluntly by Sandra Bernhardt in one of her cabaret acts.

"I just want you to know that when you wake up in the middle of night terrified that you might be alone-remember you ARE alone."

Or more humorously put by Lily Tomlin "If love is the answer, you are going to have to rephrase the question."

Happy Valentine's Day!

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