Nothing is known of the first St. Valentine
except that he was martyred by heinous torture.
Legend has it that he married Christian couples
and tried to convert an emperor—ordinary priestly fare.
For some reason, I see him stoned and beheaded
on a bridge near a river (to wash the blood away),
abducted while on The Way of a mountainous escape,
or perhaps just the mountain of the Lord for retreat.
But doesn’t all love involve suffering on bridges
that connect two separate masses over watery chasms,
not with courtly love, as popularized later,
but with real bloody mess of power abused
that leaves us gasping at love’s last breath:
"Forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing?"
For all marriages, Christian or no,
end in death--or divorce where bridges fail--
and no one travels that way anymore out of fear
of reports that martyred saints still haunt the place
© 2011 Tess Lockhart. All rights reserved.