Not in the golden mists of memory
Nor in the colder mists of future years
Shall I find love as true as yours for me—
A love so fair it banishes all fears.
Your eyes, like sunlight, ever faithful gaze
On all we’ve built and are. No clouds eclipse
Your gentle calm. How can I help but praise
The sweetness of your soul, your heart, your lips?
You’re faithful even as the Channel shore,
Despite life’s tempests which too often rage.
The world decays, but you stay as before—
Serene and certain. You will never age.
Time can’t consume a love this pure and true
Nor dim my precious memories of you.



Brian Yapko is a lawyer who also writes poetry. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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28 Responses

  1. Norma Pain

    This poem is so beautiful, sweet and sad, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Brian.

    • Brian A Yapko

      I agree with you, Norma. Evan, let me take this opportunity to thank you not just for this beautiful, carefully selected image but for taking the time with every single poem to present it so that it is not just the plain black and white of words on a computer screen but a veritable visual feast — one which often adds meaning to the poem that the picture accompanies. It’s a big job and you always do it with superlative skill and taste.

  2. Jeff Eardley

    Brian, you have got me choking up as well. A lovely slice of love, life and memories. Wishing you a most happy Valentines.

    • Brian A Yapko

      Thank you very much indeed, Jeff. I’m so glad that you found it moving. I hope you had a very happy Valentine’s Day!

  3. Jeremiah Johnson

    I’m just going to say that’s a perfect poem – not a note out of place. In particular, I really like your use of alliteration. And of course the sentiment, which feels so relatable yet without feeling cliched at all.

    Though it doesn’t compare with what you wrote, I thought I’d share one of my own:

    Consequently (Missing You)

    Those nine days spent without you
    Were nine days in a listless mist –
    Not that the evenings were all blue,
    That there wasn’t entertainment in
    Hanging with the guys, and in lieu
    Of leisurely reading and late movies –

    But that my constant Guest at Dinner
    Wasn’t there to pique my interest,
    The salt’s savor less without her,
    That the Companion of my Evening’s
    Devotions, of prayer and scripture
    Reading, couldn’t offer her insights,

    And that the One who Shares my Bed,
    In slumber and delight, didn’t indent
    Her pillow with her soft-curled head.
    Consequently, I find that I, once
    Content to be a Bachelor, am Wedded
    Happily to you – body, heart and mind.

    • Brian A Yapko

      Jeremiah, I am so very happy to receive this high praise. Thank you! And thank you as well for sharing your own wonderful love poem for this special day. It is beautifully written and has some very touching imagery. I love it. I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day.

  4. allegra Silberstein

    What a beautiful love sonnet. Thank you for this Valentine Day gift. Allegra

    • Brian A Yapko

      Thank you, Allegra, for this kind remark. I’m so pleased that you see it as a gift. That’s how it was intended and I’m glad that’s how it was received!

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Brian, this is exquisite – a breathtakingly beautiful Shakespearean sonnet that is perfect for this special day. I believe you have an instant classic on your hands… the spot-on title echoes my thoughts. This is my favorite line: “Serene and certain. You will never age.” These glorious words say it all… and much, much more. Happy Valentine’s Day, Brian… and thank you!

    • Brian A Yapko

      Thank you so much, Susan! I’m over the moon with your finding it “breathakingly beautiful” and “an instant classic!” That means so much to me! I worried that it might be seen as a bit too simple and I’m glad that it actually works well. You zeroed in on what is my favorite line — actually the four words “You will never age.” I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

  6. Joseph S. Salemi

    This sonnet is governed by an unusual conceit. The first quatrain describes the woman being addressed as existing neither in the past nor in the future, but in a kind of eternal present. The following two quatrains individualize the conceit more precisely by talking of her as the uneclipsed sun and the Channel shore, and as one who will “never age.”

    This isn’t the standard sonneteer’s claim to “eternize” the beloved with his poetic skill. This is describing her as an ever-present and ageless reality. And the ending couplet goes back to the idea of future and past — time (in the future) will not consume their love), and time (looking backwards into the past) cannot dim it.

    This is very fine work.

    • Brian A Yapko

      I’m honored by your kind words, Joseph, and grateful for your explication of the poem. Thank you. Everything you say is true, and I don’t think I even realized the full implications of what I was writing until I read your comment. You’ve pretty much nailed it. I was aiming to present a poetic world in which the only thing that was truly real and permanent was the love interest of the speaker. It is a love which exists within time but which also transcends it. As you phrase it, “an ever-present and ageless reality.” Thank you again for this rich comment.

  7. Russel Winick

    Two thumbs up from me as well, Brian. My favorite line is “The world decays, but you stay as before.” A great gift from you to all of us on this day!

    • Brian A Yapko

      Thank you so much, Russel! I’m so glad you like the poem and that particular line which I actually struggled with. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

  8. C.B. Anderson

    Roll over, Shakespeare! I’m not kidding, Brian. This is a love sonnet newly hatched from the old style. Yes, it’s almost absurdly sentimental, but that’s what St. Valentine is all about.

    • Brian A Yapko

      Thank you very much indeed, C.B. Yes, this is a deeply sentimental poem but for Valentine’s Day I just had to do it. And it did indeed come from the heart. I’m especially pleased that you mentioned Shakespeare because I actually started this poem after reading some of his sonnets and wishing that I could write something along the lines of what he wrote. I’m no Shakespeare, but I did try to offer some Shakespearian echoes, including going out of my way to bring in “the Channel shore” — I wanted to include a very iconic English reference which might obliquely evoke his memory. The reference to life’s “tempests” as well. The other reason I wanted the Shakespearian sonnet for this particular poem was the “ageless” theme. I wanted to use a form that was indeed “timeless” and nothing says timeless to me more than a sonnet by William Shakespeare.

  9. Margaret Coats

    “Shakespeare” is what I thought when I began to read this. It has his superb music of lines, each one perfect, yet not stopping the flow of the poem. Even in lines 6, 7, and 12, where there is a full stop in the middle of the line, the two parts could be taken as reflecting one another. These lines actually do not need the rest of their sentences to stand as beautiful in themselves, although the sentence structure gently pulls the reader onward to convey loving thought in a manner both logical and eloquent. This is rare. Shakespeare himself does not always achieve it, but his best sonnets have it. It is why readers see what is finest about their own love in Shakespeare. His ability to speak for others’ hearts is what we love in his sonnets.

    This one of Brian’s is “Ageless” not because it’s timeless, but because it takes a position within time–and flows while it does. Really, Brian! We see the present most firmly in line 6, but not there only, and there is future and past, as well. The “memories” of the last line contradict the “not memory” of the first. This means the speaker recognizes the passing of time, while denying the aging (in the degenerative sense) of his love. How can I help but praise the true mystery here?

    You and C. B. have talked about sentimentality as appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Well, mawkish and silly sentimentality is never appropriate because it can’t stand up to reality. In this poem your references to time suggest that the speaker does face reality (aging, sickness, misfortune, death) and bypasses it for and through the power of love. That’s a triumph of the pure human spirit that’s hardly possible without reference to another world, and yet this sonnet is not otherworldly.

    In fact, neither is the eternizing motif Joseph Salemi refers to. I find Shakespeare is less attractive in the eternizing sonnets because they put the poet (not the beloved) on a pedestal. The object of his love is only there to make him a great poet now and in the future. As one student study guide says, he doesn’t really love, he just talks, more and more and more. You, Brian, maintain a tone that is simpler and more realistic, and thus more believable despite the exaltation and mystery in this work. Shakespeare’s sonnets 29 and 30 show what I mean, and they are exactly what I might call down-to-earth “friendly memory” sonnets among the best the Bard wrote.

    • Brian A Yapko

      Margaret, thank you very much indeed for this amazing comment. I’m deeply honored by your favorable comparisons to our favorite bard – especially your statement of my poem’s “superb music of lines, each one perfect, yet not stopping the flow of the poem.” This was a very difficult poem to write with many different variations attempted and a tonal shift or two, so I’m gratified that the work paid off. It’s especially difficult to write love poetry that is not, as you phrase it, subject to “mawkish and silly sentimentality.” I now have even greater respect for Shakespeare who is himself something of a mystery – how could he churn out so much quality work?

      I love your analysis of the time element in “Ageless” – its almost-flirtation with otherworldliness even as it remains rooted in the real world. I’ve given it some thought and, yes, there is a mystery here. It is partly, but not fully, explained by the fact that this is a poem which sees from the heart rather than from the head. In the heart, time means very little, aging scarcely exists, the din of the world around us hardly matters and is barely audible. That is, more or less, the effect I was going for and I’m grateful for your view – that this is a triumph of the pure human spirit. And while there is nothing overtly otherworldly here, I think the very idea of transcendent love means that a spiritual realm is implicit in the piece.

      As for the eternizing motif that you and Dr. Salemi describe – it would seem to me overly arrogant to claim that my poetry was going to immortalize someone. I agree with you: this is a theme that makes some of Shakespeare’s work less appealing than it otherwise might be. I derive less enjoyment from poetry that is about the poet himself as opposed to subject matter observed and interpreted by the poet. The poet should not be put on a pedestal (unless a third party is doing it.) To me that’s a bit like a cinematographer constantly turning the camera on himself rather than on the drama he’s supposed to be filming. “Selfies” apparently have a much longer tradition than social media might lead one to expect!

      Lastly, thank you for your note about this work having a focus that is “simpler and more realistic.” That is indeed what I was striving for. Love can’t be all “moonlight and magnolias.” Is it not in the very nature of love for two helpmeets to face the vicissitudes of life together? To be stronger for the partnership? To create something greater than the sum of its parts? Yes, that is simple and realistic – perhaps unusual qualities to sonnetize. But to me that simplicity in love is part and parcel of the exaltation and mystery. Without that down-to-earth grounding, I would find it harder to be moved by such a poem. And, as you point out, it wouldn’t be as believable.

      Thank you again, Margaret, for your generous comments and thought-provoking discussion!

  10. Joshua C. Frank

    Brian, this is beautiful! Such a wonderful expression of what married love is supposed to be, and the Shakespearean sonnet is perfect for it. I think it could be included alongside Shakespeare’s sonnets, and it would be one of my favorites in the anthology. Well done!


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