Wendy Cope’s Valentine’s Day Poem

Today we are obliged to be romantic
And think of yet another valentine.
We know the rules and we are both pedantic:
Today’s the day we have to be romantic.
Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.
You know I’m yours and I know you are mine.
And saying that has made me feel romantic,
My dearest love, my darling valentine.

From Family Values, published by Faber & Faber on April 7

There was a time when February 14 was a pink-letter day in my mental calendar, but I have now reached the stage where I will not be waking up tomorrow morning in delicious anticipation of what the postman might bring. In middle age, Valentine’s Day seems less like an innocent romantic interlude and more like a handy marketing peg in the long dreary cash-strapped months between Christmas and Easter.

And yet, when I read Wendy Cope’s poem from her wonderful new collection, Family Values, I regret my cynicism.

Cope, like all the best poets, has the ability to twist the mundane and workaday into something new and enchanting. This book is full of bittersweet reflections on childhood, love and getting older. It offers consolation and hope to anyone who finds that they don’t feel as old on the inside as they look.