Well, no, it probably isn’t really too late for love, but I singularly failed to write a blog post for Valentine’s Day as I didn’t get finished with work till around ten that night. Although I had found several ideas I thought would be appropriate, I couldn’t face trying to put them all in order at that stage of the day.
So, although it is no longer quite so relevant, I will try to do so now.
To begin with, I thought I could claim that it was romance that had kept me working so late, as I was writing a tender proposal.
That reminded me that years ago I had a Spanish business contact who gave his job title as “tender responsible”. It sounded a lot more like a Tinder profile than LinkedIn, but perhaps he’d been warned against saying he was a procurer.
Earlier last week, I found what I thought might be my ideal writing job when I read this story about online dating fraudsters. I think it could be enormous fun to write the love letter templates for use by cyber criminals. (I note that readers are warned that “an online search could flag up some of the stock phrases” that might help identify scams but, to be honest, I’m not sure there ever was a love letter written that didn’t include stock phrases and clichés.)
The figures in that news article are amazing: apparently the average dating scam victim loses £10,000 and “money is transferred within 30 days of initial contact with the perpetrator.”
I want to know where I have been going wrong. Seriously, I’ve been in relationships for years where I haven’t received as much as £10,000, whether or not the contact was “initial” or more advanced (and leaving to one side the question of whether any “perpetration” took place.)
Surprisingly, there is no mention of the scam artists using poetry to woo their victims.
I’ve often said that I think that all poetry is love poetry, but I checked through the blog posts and only found 53 tagged as love poetry – barely 5% – although nearly a third of all posts are labelled as containing original poems and around a half have something to do with poetry.
This poem, posted back in 2009 and ready, I think, for another airing, reflects my time living in central Madrid and shows that I have never been much of a one for celebrating el día de los enamorados.
It’s cold again today. There’s fish bones,
orange peel and dog shit in the street.
The concierge at number 32 has mopped
the pavement; now she tips
a stream of tepid water at my feet.
Lather swirls in a grey tide
between cobbles. It froths,
and dog-end boats are wrecked
in scummy rock pools.
The bus stop’s empty: seems
I missed the 8:05. I wait and watch
my breath disperse.
The bus looms
in the semi-dark.
I board, and on the radio
I hear the DJ smirk:
Note that the flower in the top picture is winter aconite, which seemed particularly apt when I discovered that aconite symbolises misanthropy.
Then I thought maybe I should end on a more positive note and decided to include this photo of crocuses I took in the park earlier in the week. (I took the photo, not I took the crocuses.)
A quick check on Google, shows that to have been a serendipitous choice: legend tells that St Valentine enclosed a yellow crocus in the letter to his jailor’s daughter – the very first Valentine of all.