Greeting Card Verses for Valentine’s Day

Lamp photoFor Valentine’s Day my wonderful wife Pat has carefully and diligently purchased greeting cards over the years that contain poetic sentiments that were not offensive to writers like me who hate clichés and saccharine sweetness in their verse.  In 2012, Pat asked me what kind of verses I might write for Valentine’s Day.  It was a challenge to produce commercial verses that real poets might tolerate. A warning to writers who may attempt this exercise: you can’t write just one, or even quit at a dozen.  You may become obsessed for weeks. My own obsession lasted through the writing of 57 verses that spanned several card categories.

Some background in poetry seems appropriate at this point.  I wrote my first publishable poem at age 13, and Robert Bly, the prolific poet, editor, and social activist, once rejected a college-era poem of mine with a note saying that it was “almost a perfect poem.”  Nevertheless, I had to compare my nascent poetry to that written by my closest friends, Henry S. Taylor—later to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1986)—and Kelly Cherry, another celebrated poet who became the Poet Laureate of Virginia. In those early days of sharing our writing with each other, you might understand my reluctance to offer poetry.

Although I have never been a serious student of poetry, I have continued to write verse my entire literary life.  I have thus suffered enough rejections of individual poems and a collection to retreat and rather store them in what Robert Frost called his “strong box.” My strong box now includes more than 150 poems edited into two collections, and the overage that increases by about three to four new poems a year.

After reading the following samples of some of the shorter Valentine verses, you may want to exercise your own greeting card poetic imagination.  But be advised, you might be surprised, as I was, by the sudden abyss of sentiment that results.

Undelivered Valentines

Photo by Pat Joynes

Photo by Pat Joynes

This card comes to you

As a momentary stay

Against television.

 If you will make me

Your preferred channel

For drama and romance,

I promise to deliver you

An exciting season

Of happy memories.


Interstellar Dimensions

May I acknowledge

Your spectacular flights

Into the space of my heart?

My happiness now

Has interstellar dimensions

Because of you.


Photo by Tommy White Photography

Photo by Tommy White Photography

May I make an attempt

To say something that

I have never said before,

To utter a secret long repressed?

The thrill of your intimacy

Means everything

Significant to me.


Sublime imagination

Sublime imaginationContains a heroic aura

Of the romantically

Idealized relationship.

Or so it seems

Whenever I think

About you.



I am against respectability

Because I am willing

To make a fool of myself

In campaigning

For your attention.


Cake topper

Biographically speaking,

I do not want to

Be ambiguous.

You are the most

Wonderful person in my life.



2 manatees

Do you want



And earnest?

Okay. I can be that way

For you.


Lily and Heidi

I am committed

To a trial

By existence.

Knowing full well

That I will be found

Guilty of loving you.


Not motivated by reason,Early morning rider

Or prudence, or foresight,

Or any artificial sentiment,

I am loose headed,

And destined for you.


Bestow by whispering

The secret confidences

That we share

Perfect oneness

Is love’s best labor

And our sweetest dream.

Photo by Jim Dillinger

Photo by Jim Dillinger

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Poetry, Writing

One response to “Greeting Card Verses for Valentine’s Day

  1. W, Wynne Zaugg

    If commercial cards were even close! Where is my winning powerball ticket so more of your work is published? New animal sanctuary and publishing company….

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