To awaken you is just a kiss away
And in my arms to rock and sway
In all sincerity I want to say
Be my Valentine for just one day
Whenever you need me in gloom and cheer
You can rest assured I’ll always be near
With this line to be my second best
My love for you in a die to be caste.
Michael Collins’ Valentine poem (to his first girlfriend, Susan Killeen, 1916)
I need a kiss, urgently. I want to press my wife to my heart, but we are 150 miles apart. Darling, do you think of me at all? Can you sleep without those long limbs wrapped round you? Those same limbs are longing to be wrapped round you again – two weeks – fourteen days – how can I endure it? You do not know how sorrowful I am.
Eamon de Valera to Sinead, from Irish college, 1911
Cheeky, ruddy-faced rhyme from wholesome patriot.
Or spindly, lust-crippled doggerel from impatient gaelgoir.
Thanks Sibling of Daedalus
Eamon De Valera’s bleakly puritan Christmas card, 1945.