According to the poet Wendy Cope, she is of a different opinion regarding Valentine’s Day. A red-letter day that occurs in modern lover’s frantic romance. However, ‘Another Valentine’, as the title of the poem says, is about a differing attitude towards this romantic day. Cope is of the view that romance starts from the heart and is expressed through untold emotions. Showing off is never her way of dealing with love, the essence of life. Hence, she thinks of another valentine or a different type of valentine’s day. This poem describes how she expresses her heartfelt emotion to her lover.
This poem begins with the poetic persona’s ironic statement. In modern times, people are obliged to be romantic as it does not come from the heart. Hence, the poet thinks otherwise. Everyone knows the rules that can be observed throughout the world. So modern lovers “have to be romantic” for the sake of pedantic customs. However, the speaker or the poet’s persona says her love is “old and sure.” It’s not new or frantic. Yet the speaker still feels the same vibes that she felt during the first few days of her relationship. For this reason, she says that the emotion lying at the deepest core of the heart makes her feel romantic, not Valentine’s Day.
You can read the full poem here.
It is a very short poem only having eight lines. The poet uses several full stops throughout the poem. The use of stop marks makes the lines of the poem sound like universal statements. Besides, readers can understand what the poet says in this poem, is undoubtedly true. Apart from that, the rhyme scheme of the poem is conventional. It is ABAA ABAB. So, in this poem, the poet uses an alternative rhyming pattern. It is interesting to note here that some lines of the poem even end with the same word. Apart from that, the poet also uses a regular metrical scheme. For instance, the overall poem is composed in iambic pentameter. Cope uses elisions to frame the lines in this scheme.
Cope’s lyric ‘Another Valentine’ contains several literary devices that make the poem an interesting read. To begin with, the poem begins with irony followed by a pun in the use of the word “valentine”. Here, in the second line, “valentine” refers to both Valentine’s Day and a lover. Along with that, the second line presents sarcasm too. Thereafter, the poet uses an epigram in the fourth line. This line also contains a repetition of the word “day”. In the following line, the poet uses personification and compares her “love” to an old person. Moreover, this line is an antithesis. The following line presents a chiasmus. However, the poet ends this piece with a palilogy.
Today we are obliged to be romantic
Today’s the day we have to be romantic.
This poem of Wendy Cope, ‘Another Valentine’ begins with a humorous statement. According to the speaker of the poem, on Valentine’s Day people are “obliged to be romantic.” This phrase, within the quotation, sounds like the poet is talking about the independence day of a nation. Humorously, here the poet is referring to Valentine’s Day. The day that nowadays has lost its real importance. Consumerism and capitalism have made a pact with this day too.
However, to heighten the ironic effect of the first line, in the second line, the speaker takes a differing stance. According to her, she thinks of Valentine’s Day differently. However, this line also contains a pun. It seems that here the poet is talking about infidelity. One is not wholly committed to the partner and thinks of another “valentine” while expressing love to the person firsthand.
In the following line, the poet refers to the “rules” that ought to be followed in that way. For this reason, lovers have somehow become pedantic in their approach to showing love. The last line of this is a refrain that reiterates the idea of the first line. It is meant for the sake of emphasis.
Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.
My dearest love, my darling valentine.
In the last four lines of ‘Another Valentine’, the poem takes a subjective turn. Therefore the tone of the poem changes. Sidewise the mood takes a romantic color. However, here the speaker refers to her love and qualifies it by the use of the words, “old” and “sure”. The scent of old love and the predictability of emotion depict how two souls are connected. Frantic display of new love cannot capture the importance of such a maturer love, softened with age and bonded with time.
The speaker knows she inhabits her partner’s soul and the partner believes the same. While she thinks so, the thought itself takes her to the embalming world of romance. In a relationship, thoughts are what counts. Neither words nor reddened gifts can reach the heights a simple thought can. Hence, here the poet highlights the importance of feeling this emotion, not the showoff.
In the last line, the poet uses a palilogy and dedicates this poem to her “darling valentine.” After reading the last line, it becomes clear that the name or image of the beloved is above all the customs ought to be followed on modernized Valentine’s Day. True love exists in the abstract that mere materials cannot construct.
Wendy Cope, the poet of ‘Another Valentine’, is a modern English poet born in the London Borough of Bexley. The style of Cope’s poetry resembles that of John Betjeman and Philip Larkin. Moreover, her use of irony along with her keenness for piercing sarcasm is what makes her dear to modern readers. She wrote several poems for both children and adults. Whatsoever, in this poem, one can find what the poet thinks of the modern way of expressing love. Though the poem centers on the modernized version of Valentine’s day, here one can find the poet’s views regarding modern love. Along with that, she creates contrast by presenting her thoughts of love besides how one thinks of love nowadays.
Here is a list of some popular poems that similarly capture the theme of Wendy Cope’s lyric ‘Another Valentine’.
- Errata by Kevin Young – In this postmodern love poem, Kevin Young describes her feelings for his beloved by using an innovative style.
- Night Windows by Owen Sheers – This poem deals with themes of gender and sexuality. This love poem describes an erotic encounter and the speaker getting disturbed by the lit-up windows nearby.
- Autumn Valentine by Dorothy Parker – In this poem, Parker explores how the pain she received in a relationship is linked to some good memories that must be embraced. The title of the poem depicts the mood of the poem.
- A Valentine by Edgar Allan Poe – It’s one of the best-known poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Here, in this riddle, the poet innovatively hides the name of his beloved, Frances Sargent Osgood.