Book shopping for a compassionate Valentines Day!

For the latest in Valentine’s Day gifts, try a vintage piece of jewelry from our family company Wilderside Ltd.’s newest enterprise.  Book listings are below.  Click “more”

Etsy Shop: Error on API Request Rose: A drawingWhen I was seeking a life partner I knew I wanted someone who was both passionate and compassionate. Someone who cared deeply and broadly.  I was lucky enough to find someone who would stop to play flute for a group of strangers to calm them after there was a fire at their nursing home. This project is our way of caring deeply and broadly about humanity.  It is our daily Valentine to the world.  One way we show our love is in how we engage in mercantile transactions, what we call compassionate shopping.  We want to share with you places we have found where our dollars feed our values. One of those place is Powells bookstore.  Why a bookstore for Valentine’s Day?  Since it’s invention, language has been an expression of love.   Visit Powells.comWhat makes buying these books from Powells an act of compassionate shopping?  They are all being sold through Powells.com.  Powells is a socially responsibleenvironmentally conscious, union bookstore. From Powells, we present a collection of books for everyone’s Valentine’s Day:

A love poetry book for everyone

Art & Love: An Illustrated Anthology of Love PoetryThe Metropolitan Museum of Art book Art & Love: An Illustrated Anthology of Love Poetry celebrates the spectrum of love with each book section title taken from the initial poem:

The Duchess and I enjoy reading each other poems from this collection, and viewing the photos of the accompanying art from the Met’s collection.  An anonymous poem from ancient India that the Duchess enjoys from this collection is titled Although I Conquer All the Earth.

Although I conquer all the earth, Yet for me there is only one city. In that city there is for me only one house; And in that house, one room only; And one woman sleeps there, The shining joy and jewel of all my kingdom.

She also loves the concept of loving one’s soul that is recounted in When You are Old by William Butler Yeats. (The duchess just gave a copy of this book to all the women in her family.)

A love poetry book for your partner

Pablo Neruda‘s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (Penguin Classics) has a permanent place by my beside.  The Duchess and I have read each other these poems many times over. A favorite is number XVI, In my Sky at Twilight.  The poem is based upon a paraphrase of the 30th poem  in Rabindranath Tagore‘s The Gardener.  Neruda’s version begins

In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud and your form and colour are the way I love them. You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips and in your life my infinite dreams live.

Neruda was a Nobel-Prize-winning poet and politician.  He held a number of Chilean diplomatic posts and was briefly a Senator. (You can read the Duke’s ramblings about Neruda, Yeats and Tagore here.)

A love book for your soul

I have mentioned Thich Nhat Hanh here enough to make clear that I am appreciative of his guidance toward becoming a more loving person.  True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart was a Valentine’s Day gift from The Duchess. Hahn’s book explores “the four key aspects of love..: lovingkindness, compassion, joy and freedom”  I read it thoroughly, and quickly.  There is no need to let the subject matter intimidate you.  Hahn writes books, and chapters, that are in a easily digestible size.  He writes in plain language, with a sense of humor.  He uses terms from Buddhism as jumping off points to discuss creating a more loving life, rather than for parochial religious discussion. In the first chapter, Hahn writes:

What must we do to understand a person? We must have time; we must practice looking deeply into this person.  We must be there, attentive; we must observe, we must look deeply. And the fruit of this looking deeply is understanding.  Love is a true thing if it is made up of a substance called understanding.

Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh is an author, poet, scholar, and peace activist, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr.

A fun Valentine poetry adventure

Valentines by Ted KooserThe Duchess first discovered Valentines by Ted Kooser in a wonderful, little, independent bookstore. The proprietors recommended it highly.  I ended up giving the book to The Duchess for Valentine’s Day. Like all great artists, Kooser admits he stole the idea of sending out an annual Valentines poem:

The first year I wrote “Pocket Poem”, which you’ll find here, and sent it to about fifty women, many of them the wives of my friends.  My wife, Kathleen, didn’t seem to mind, and she’s tolerated this foolishness of mine every years since, as the list grew and grew.

The back cover contains a reaction to this project from one of his recipients:

I am bit stunned. I just found out that these valentines, addressed to me, all these years, are in fact part of a vast network of hearts, laced together by one man’s words, ‘a starburst compass pointing in all directions,’ an indescribable bon-bon-mot served every February 14th, now a complete feast, between those covers. What a gift. – Debra Winger

The Duchess has marked off the vast majority of the poems of this book to read to her.  The first being the aforementioned Pocket Poem which begins:

If this comes creased and creased again and soiled as if I’d opened it a thousand times to see if what I’d written here was right,

Kooser is former U.S. poet laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

A book of poems for young people (The title poem is great for an elementary school teacher to read to her class on Valentine’s Day!)

Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield. A quote from the title poem: “Honey. let me tell you that I LOVE to take a ride / I love to take a family ride…” This book also includes Greenfield’s poem “Harriet Tubman”, which is often used for recitation. (See sample videos: here.)

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