This is the third year of what has become a phenomenon—an outpouring of hope, kindness, empathy, or inclusion in 14-word packages. 14 Words For Love is the brainchild of my writer-friend Jodi Barnes, who wanted to garner a few hundred poems to hand out to homeless, legislators, taxi drivers and teachers—anyone on Valentine’s Day. Of course, the poets and writers of the world exceeded that call in 2013 and 2014 and continue to show their love 14 words at a time this year.
What has become my 14-word tradition are the poems that begin “to understand love / you must understand <blank>,” a series of poems I started in 2013 where I fill in the blank with an object or concept and then find seven other words that both describe the object and the idea of love. Here’s one from last year:
These poems challenge me to think in metaphor, be concise, and practice concrete imagery. They’re also a great way to help out a friend, connect with others, and use poetry to heal.
I’ll share a few more from this year in the hope you’ll do the same:
I asked the cartographer to draw a map to where your heart is buried
This road has sharp bends and lonely straightaways but dead ends at your door
I've walked far and have yet to find you but know you are close
Where can I go to find all the love I seek? The mirror, perhaps?
to understand love you must understand matadors luring you in before the final strike
You don’t have to be a poet, writer, or have a creative bone in your body, but you do have only 13 more days to join in!