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Posts Tagged ‘Calligrams for hearts’

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, so that got me thinking about how we celebrate it and why.

One story goes that a Roman Emperor wanted his soldiers to focus solely on war, so he forbade marriage. A priest called Valentine defied the ban and continued to marry couples in secret. The priest’s subversion was discovered and he was put to death.

The romantic celebration of St Valentine’s apparently began in the 14th century when Chaucer associated the saint with romance in his poetry. Around the same time Paris set up a court to protect women. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals and violence against women. The earliest surviving valentine was written by a Frenchman to his wife:
Je suis desja d’amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée…
—Charles d’Orléans, Rondeau VI, lines 1–2[27]
Aaah, French, the language of love!

By the eighteenth century, books of poems were published so that young lovers unable to compose their own poetry could draw on these. Paper valentines began to be mass produced and with the beginnings of a postal service anonymous valentines could be sent.

So here we are in the 21st century, and what does Valentine’s day mean now? Huge numbers of red roses delivered to schools, offices and homes. Jewellery stores advertising, diamonds, rings, necklaces. Stationers selling vast numbers of romantic, funny, cynical and friendship cards. It’s competitive, desperate, disappointing, exciting, exploitative … It’s for children, teenagers, lovers, couples, young and old.

It can be a day to declare your romantic intentions, to arouse passions, to ignite love, or simply a special day to rekindle romance.

The days leading up to Valentine’s can be a time to reflect on love, relationships and the glue that holds couples together.

A few images to expand on these thoughts about Valentines:

What is love?

What is love?

Love can be a smouldering fire, to be rekindled with fresh air … or extinguished through neglect:

Smouldering love

Then there is the passion we all yearn for, the heart on fire:

Heart on Fire

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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More calligrams!
A `calligram` is a poem, phrase, or word in which the typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image. The image created by the words expresses visually what the word, or words, say.

Since I found out about calligrams and poetry I have played around with the idea of calligrams, letting it cook for a while in my sub-conscious, taking it out every now and then, and now I’ve come out with a few images that I like.
First was the Christmas calligram, then a Blood Diamond.

I have a few phrases that resonate with my soul, and inspired more calligrams

“Something that makes my heart sing” This can be music, or a painting, or sculpture that moves me to tears or laughter, or something I’ve read or heard about that inspires me or gives me something to aspire to. Or it might simply be a memory. Or feeling proud of my children and their achievements.

“Reaching for the stars” I love the image of a star as being something to reach for, dream about and that inspires goals. There’s something about the infinity of the night sky broken by pin pricks of light that makes me want to reach out past the world I know and search for more – needing to know more, do more, be more.


“Blowing your own trumpet” We’re not supposed to do this. But sometimes I’m so darn happy that I’ve been finally able to move a muscle or make a movement that shouldn’t be possible after damaging my spinal cord all those years ago, that I just have to let the joy out!


I love watching people blowing bubbles. Well, I love watching both the person and the bubbles. I recently blew coloured bubbles onto canvas, and it was fun. There is something amazing about a bubble. That it can exist, even for a few moments, is incredible. And each one contains a small rainbow, floating and shining.

Watch this space for more …

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