published in Hope Spots 2024 on February 13, 2024

Hope Spot 6 – Not a Valentine

A non-valentine’s day card for you – Read a special poem about how your love is making an impact through the work of ALWS.

My first job when I finished my Uni degree was writing poems for greeting cards.


50 poems a week.


From 80th birthday for a ‘groovy’ grandma … to soothing sympathy for a sad loss … to raunchy rhymes for our R-rated range.


NB: This was a long, long time ago, back in the days when people still knew what a stamp and post office were, and how precious a card in the letterbox could be!


Hardest to write were poems for Valentine’s Day …


… because there just aren’t that many words that rhyme with love.


Glove. Dove. Above. Shove (?).


Try making something special out of that lot!


So, I didn’t.

Instead, I decided to write ‘modern’, very ‘clever’, free verse …


… which was all fine, until a few months later when my boss took me out back into the warehouse.


She showed me pallet after pallet of Valentine’s Day cards that had been returned, unsold.


Then told me very clearly (!!!)

that it was not

what I wanted to write …


… but what people wanted to say

to someone they care about.


It can be hard to find the right words to tell someone how much you appreciate them.


I know greeting card rhymes can feel a bit soft and sloppy, but just the fact you took the time, and made the effort, is enough to tell the person how special they are.


So, in that spirit, I’ve mangled the English language for you, to remind you how special you are to the people you help through ALWS:


When a mum in Nepal wants to start a farm,

you give a chicken, not a dove.

When a Burundi family asks for a hand,

you’re at their side, not shouting from above.

When a refugee child needs support for school,

your teaching fits hand-in-glove.

When you do all this, you do it because –

your heart is filled with love!


(And your kindness comes freely,

never needing a shove!) 


I know the rhymes are yuk …


… but, as we always said at the greeting card company – it’s the thought that counts!


Thank you for being a blessing, ALWayS – and Happy Non-Valentine’s Day!


PS: You don’t need to send me back a Non-Valentine 😊, just complete your 2024 ALWS Supporter Survey if you haven’t already. Thank you!

PPS: The drawing of two hearts was done by a young girl from Ukraine, in a Child Friendly Space you support at a Lutheran Church in Poland through ALWS.

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