Valentine's Poetry Festival 2006


Lace doilies glued with
Candy hearts. Doorbells and stealth.
Childhood's first love-thrill.

- Steve Argyle, 2/2/06


Unrequited love.
How sad the only relief
From stress is despair.

- Steve Argyle, 2/2/06


For Lisa
Valentines Day, 1998

Once I saw a banyan tree that had
Grown into the fabric of an old
Pavilion in a Chinese garden.
Root and stone, trunk and lintel,
Leaf and finial, all so intertwined
That I could scarce tell where
One began and the other left off.
No matter that each had once
Been individual things, tree and
Building. Now they stood a
Single structure beside the
Pensive pool. And I knew
Just by looking that were either
One to be removed, the other
Would not, could not stand.

Standing in the aisle, perusing
Valentine cards replete with
Enterprising endearments and
Commercial verse, I despair at
Ever finding images adequate to
Express how deeply dependant
I am upon everything you are.
Forsaking floral pasteboard
Slathered with syrupy rhyme,
I remember that systhesis of
Stone and wood and see the
Truth of what you have become
For me. You have grown into the
Architecture of my being, your
Tender tendrils merging with the
Joinery of my soul. You have
Brought to the stolid symmetry of
My life an organic richness that
More completes than complements.
My darling, the source of light and
Sweetness in my life, without you I
Would not, could not stand

- Steve Argyle, 1998


February the Fifteenth

No crystal vase, no
Blossoms bright doom’d to rootless
Death for beauty’s sake;

No cardboard quip, no
Dark rich chocolate sin to
Hint of other sweet;

No silly gift, no
Love token -- naught received,
Naught given away.

Yet in dreams heap'd I
Flowers, candies, cards, myself
Into waiting arms

And all were cherish'd.
Why do I not as I dream?
Dreamers know not fear.

But I, awake, took
Pause to count cost. What if my
Gifts were unwelcome?

Rejection, pity,
Ridicule, loneliness may
Be fruits of this act;

Or might you come to
Despise my hidden, hated
Flaws when once reveal'd.

Will love me thrall when
At last I meet that person
Cloaked in your eyes?

Or shall hope wither
Before it flower to bring
Forth sweet passion's fruit?

I am no augur;
Consult I every sign
Yet see no future.

Will you receive me?
Or shall I lose your friendship
Reaching for your love?

Thus hang I between
Yesterday and tomorrow,
Between hope and fear.

Perfect love, said the
Master, casts out fear. But how
Gain I perfection?

Is love then only
For those perfect, fools or brave?
Wends no path for me?

No crystal vase, no
Blossoms bright, no chocolate
Dare I bring along.

Today my hands are
Empty. Cannot you see what
Gifts they hold for you?

- Dale Neibaur, 2/24/06 (dedicated to Holly)