And on 14 February we…

Right, well with the origins of Valentine’s day covered, it would be churlish not to get into at least some of the better bon mots and billets doux.

“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.” Mahatma Gandhi

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” Ingrid Bergman

“A lady of forty-seven who had been married twenty-seven years and has six children knows what love really is and once described it for me like this: ‘Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.'” James Thurber

“All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.” Leo Tolstoy

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“And think not you can Direct the course of love, For love, If it finds you worthy, Directs your course.” Kahlil Gibran

“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” Mother Teresa

“A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.” Thomas Carlyle

“How is it that she can sleep when I am so near? We must stoke the furnace of love, must we not?” Pepe Le Pew

“But madame! I have overstoked the furnace, yes? Madame! Your conduct is unseemly! Control yourself! Madame!” Pepe Le Pew

“At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.” Plato

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr

“I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes”
James Joyce (Molly Bloom in Ulysses)

“I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, – and the stars through his soul.” Victor Hugo

“I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.” J. D. Salinger (Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye)

And, girls, a little tip if anyone is being too persistent:

“I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.” Woody Allen

ps – can’t have love poems without Pablo Neruda. This one is called “Your hands”

When your hands leap
towards mine, love,
what do they bring me in flight?
Why did they stop
at my lips, so suddenly,
why do I know them,
as if once before,
I have touched them,
as if, before being,
they travelled
my forehead, my waist?

Their smoothness came
winging through time,
over the sea and the smoke,
over the Spring,
and when you laid
your hands on my chest
I knew those wings
of the gold doves,
I knew that clay,
and that colour of grain.

The years of my life
have been roadways of searching,
a climbing of stairs,
a crossing of reefs.
Trains hurled me onwards
waters recalled me,
on the surface of grapes
it seemed that I touched you.
Wood, of a sudden,
made contact with you,
the almond-tree summoned
your hidden smoothness,
until both your hands
closed on my chest,
like a pair of wings
ending their flight.

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