Valentine Sonnet

Jennifer Atkinson

for mine

We’ve never tasted Sinai manna or truffles plucked
from the tip of a leashed boar’s tusk or dipped our straws
in the mumbling hive and drunk. Nor have we ever

sucked on glacial ice that sizzles still with ancient air
or yet have breathed prophetic Delphic fumes. Maybe we’ll never
get to Lindesfarne, Compostela, or Everest.

Never mind the coral reef off Queensland, Machu Picchu,
Lhasa, Easter Island… It’s too late already for old Timbuktu,
Ajanta and Ellora fade, the Giza Sphinx’s eye is blurring

closed, and the green Maldive Islands slide away
toward lost Atlantis. All that can wait—and the briar rose
it’s said burned unconsumed for Moses—Love,

those other far-off pleasures can some other time their treasures prove.
Right here’s a fine and private place for all our love’s long lazy day.

Jennifer Atkinson is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently The Thinking Eye from Free Verse Editions. She teaches in the BFA and MFA programs at George Mason University.


  1. Genevieve Pfisterer says

    Appreciated being able to listen to this one so all those places were pronounced correctly.

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