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  National
"Valentine's Day"
A Valentine's Day Poem for the Unloved
By Alan Timblick
President of The Seoul Times
St. Valentine — Valentine's Day, also known as Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is a holiday observed on February 14 each year. Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy.

As the millions of lovers around the world celebrate their affection with special tokens, cards, chocolates , flowers and gifts lets give a thought to the probably equal number of lonely singles who are missing out on this feast of couples and special relationships so to those who have loved and lost and to those who have never loved or been loved at all,the Seoul Times, in sympathy for such folks,dedicates this sad poem of consolation: Not gender-specific, "she" can be read as "he" throughout.

It's Over

Have you ever been dumped?
So you know how it feels!
In your chest there's a lump that time never heals
Did she do it with words?
Or a slap to the head?
Or just very quietly
By silence instead?
Did she ignore your texts, not pick up the phone?
Leave e-mails unanswered, pretend she's not home?
So you want to know why, but she's not going to try
To explain how love died, how did passion subside

Only memories left, of sweet talk bereft

You pensively wonder," where did it go wrong?"
But cant find an answer that seems to belong
"Was it something I did, or forgot to do?
My face didn't fit? Bit off too much to chew?
You visit the places that once belonged to you two
But now just strange faces mean nothing to you
You lie there, awake,
Re-living what was,
Realize with a shake that now its all lost,
How can life go on? So much pain to endure!
Should You find someone else who will love you for sure?
Who will never betray you nor walk away

Just at the moment your life's gone astray?
Will there ever be such a person to trust?
Well you have to keep faith, so search well you must

Reflection 's no use, its only self-torture,
Just erase all the good, in time you will mature
And be thankful for all that you shared and enjoyed
Forget the betrayals, the promises broken
Take back the harsh words which were best left unspoken
"Sweet sorrow is parting," so Romeo told,
But sobbing is painful and silence is gold
So don't talk about her, even to yourself
Put all of that baggage at the back of the shelf.


Around the world February 14 is celebrated as "Valentine's Day." But the manner of celebration varies from country to country and says a lot about the way in which men think about women and vice-versa.

in Korea and in Japan, from where this practice was imported, the custom is for ladies to give chocolate to men, with whom they are not necessarily romantically involved. It was a clever and runaway marketing success begun in the 1960's by the Morinaga Confectionery Company. Cashing in on the craze, the company followed up by inventing "White Day" an event totally unknown in the West, when the men are supposed to reciprocate in similar fashion with chocolates for the ladies.

Something of the thrill and romantic excitement experienced in America and the UK got lost in translation, it seems, since the custom of giving sweets, flowers, poems and cards practiced in Victorian England through to today was more to do with anonymous declarations of secret devotion normally by male admirers to the probably unaware lady who was the object of such attention.

But who actually was St. Valentine? The facts are obscure but it seems he was probably a third century Roman priest who was executed in 269 CE for trying to convert the Emperor Claudius to Christianity. Legends have it that he helped Christian couples to marry, which is how his name became associated with romance.

And it is surely no coincidence that the cult of Valentine, on February 14, supposedly the date of his death, caught on quickly since it coincided with the pagan feast of Lupercalia (the horned goat-like god Pan) when young men were wont to run around naked beating up young women - and probably worse - to celebrate a fertility cult.

But the Victorians, great civilizers as they saw themselves, tamed all this barbarism by associating Valentine with the concept of "courtly love" popularized by tales of the court of King Arthur. The key motifs of this concept were gentlemen's gallantry and chivalry towards women, the elevation of the female to the top of a pedestal as an object of adoration, probably unattainable. SirLancelot, Queen Guinevere, even Sir Walter Raleigh,are famed practitioners of the Art of Courtly love, which survives today in western etiquette.

Thus "ladies first", men holding doors open for women, helping them to be seated at the table have become an intrinsic part of good manners.

So, with this explanation, The Seoul Times, and in particular its President, would like to wish lovers everywhere, especially ladies who are loved, and of course my own dear wife.



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Alan Timblick serves as President of The Seoul Times. He grew up in England, graduated from Oxford University, and has lived in Seoul for over three decades. A former banker, he also worked for the Korean government as head of Invest Korea and for Seoul City as head of the Seoul Global Center.

 

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