A Valentine From Another Time

Feb 9, 2016

Doe Macarus, one of the winners of our poetry contest.

Some poems were meant to be read aloud. Today's poem, a Valentine to corned beef, was meant to be sung.

It was written by Doe Macarus of Williams Bay, Wisconsin, who sang it for us during a recording in our studios. Macarus wrote the poem in fourth grade after receiving a Valentine's Day card from a boy. Now 84, she submitted it for our "Relationship Poems" contest.

Her poem is one of six selected by our judge, Susan Porterfield, a poet and English professor at Rockford University.

I like corn beef in big and little slices.

I like corn beef with all its smelly spices.

I like corn beef with a pickle too.

I like corn beef like I like you.

I like you fine.

For Porterfield, this poem takes us to another time, when an infatuated child might compare the object of her crush to salt-cured beef brisket.

"I doubt that many children nowadays would choose that as their favorite food, if they even knew what it is," Porterfield says. Today, she says, they're more likely to use Hot Pockets or Chicken McNuggets as metaphors. Porterfield introduces the poem below:

Macarus says she wrote it 75 years ago, and remains friends with the boy, now man, who inspired it. Macarus gives an a capella performance of the poem below:

Macarus is the oldest poet in this contest. Tomorrow, we'll meet the youngest. Listen at 6:45 and 8:45, and then come back here to read the text and listen to a podcast reading. We also welcome your comments about this contest. Feel free to leave your thoughts below.