The Ultimate Valentine

The things about you I appreciate may seem indelicate:
I’d like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I’d like to have you in my power and see you eyes dilate.
I’d like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
To chase you screaming up a tower or make you cower
By asking you to differentiate Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.
I’d like to successfully guess your weight and win you at a fte.
I’d like to offer you a flower.

I like the hair upon your shoulders,
Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders, too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I’d like all your particulars in folders marked Confidential).

I like your cheeks, I like your nose,
I like the way your lips disclose
The neat arrangement of your teeth
(Half above and half beneath) in rows.

I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges.
Your upper arms drive me berserk.
I like the way your elbows work, on hinges.

I like your wrists, I like your glands,
I like the fingers on your hands.
I’d like to teach them how to count,
And certain things we might exchange,
Something familiar for something strange.
I’d like to give you just the right amount and get some change.

I like it when you tilt your cheek up.
I like the way you nod and hold a teacup. I like your legs when you unwind
Even in trousers I don’t mind them.
I like each softly-moulded kneecap.
I like the little crease behind them.
I’d always know, without a recap, where to find them.

I like the sculpture of your ears.
I like the way your profile disappears
Whenever you decide to turn and face me.
I’d like to cross two hemispheres and have you chase me.
I’d like to smuggle you across frontiers
Or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I’d like you to embrace me.

I’d like to see you ironing your skirt and cancelling other dates.
I’d like to button up your shirt.
I like the way your chest inflates.
I’d like to soothe you when you’re hurt
Or frightened senseless by invertebrates.

I’d like you even if you were malign
And had a yen for sudden homicide.
I’d let you put insecticide into my wine.
I’d even like you if you were the Bride of Frankenstein
Or something ghoulish out of Mamoulian’s Jekyll and Hyde.
I’d even like you as my Julian of Norwich or Cathleen ni Houlihan
How melodramatic
If you were something muttering in attics
Like Mrs Rochester or a student of boolean mathematics.

You are the end of self-abuse.
You are the eternal feminine.
I’d like to find a good excuse
To call on you and find you in.
I’d like to put my hand beneath your chin. And see you grin.
I’d like to taste your Charlotte Russe,
I’d like to feel my lips upon your skin,
I’d like to make you reproduce.

I’d like you in my confidence.
I’d like to be your second look.
I’d like to let you try the French Defence and mate you with my rook.
I’d like to be your preference and hence
I’d like to be around when you unhook.
I’d like to be your only audience,
The final name in your appointment book, your future tense.

–by John Fuller

Lent and Litany

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Lent, and the first such service I’ve experienced in the Episcopal church. The service, during Lent, varies greatly from the rest of the year, and includes choral chanting of the Great Litany. St. Andrew’s is fond of the 1928 version of the Book of Common Prayer, and both services are essentially Rite I, with the 10:00 service including music. That’s the one we attend.

I realize that much of Lent revolves around seeking attonement, and yet, rather than feeling like a supplicant, I found a great sense of peace during the chanting of the litany. There’s something sort of Zen about choral chanting, about a rote response to the cantor’s verse, about the half-spoken half-sung phrases that pushed thoughts of self out of my head and let me just be.

Fr. Young mentioned during his sermon that one of the old guys who attends the morning mass, the one without the music, commented that recitation of the litany was punishment for all wrongs, and that his response was, “You think it’s bad to recite it, at the 10 AM service they SING it.” We laughed, of course, because the line was offered in a way that elicited laughter, but I couldn’t help thinking that I like the singing. It’s so restful, hearing the chanting resonate in and around you.

This church community is small, and the congregation tends to be older, though that’s slowly changing, but it feels very homey to me – welcoming and thought-provoking, intellectually challenging, sincere. I’ve come to really like it.

Oh, and for the record: I’m giving up cheese. I thought about going off caffeine, but Fuzzy feared for his safety. And I’m far more addicted to cheeese than to coffee, anyway. But, because I also believe that this is a time to expand horizons and do Good, we’ve joined the “Drive for Life” community on LiveJournal (thanks Jacobine), which arranges transport for animals being adopted from rescue, or being moved from kill-shelters into foster- or forever-homes. We volunteered for a trip in March, but they said they’d filled it after all, so we’ll keep watching.