Anne, Dear, Sweet, Anne: A Valentine

Before she closed her eyes on that day she would be tempted to hold and look at one of her most treasured possessions: a Valentine, a pretty thing of lace paper, satin ribbon, & embossed flowers with a little bird in an egg-filled nest, Anne, dear, sweet, Anne quickly written but not yet slowly spoken.

It was unto her spirit given.

~ from Without the Veil Between, Anne Brontë: A Fine & Subtle Spirit

In February 1840, a young man walked ten miles from Haworth to Bradford, West Yorkshire in order to anonymously post Valentines to four young women who he expected would be charmed by them. The flirtatious fellow was William Weightman, curate to Reverend Patrick Brontë.

Drawing of William Weightman by Charlotte Bronte

Was William being capricious or compassionate or, perhaps, a bit of both? Sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne and their dear friend Ellen had never received a Valentine before. They may have been fooled by the sender’s motivation, but not by his identity. Charlotte probably told herself to view her Valentine cynically. Emily likely looked hers over quickly and put it aside. Possibly, Ellen enjoyed hers for vanity’s sake.

Anne might have hoped for a deeper meaning in hers, that sending four was William being discreet and inclusive, which, of course, her shy and generous nature would appreciate.

William wrote different verses in each. Well, three are known. The receiver of Fair Ellen, Fair Ellen is obvious. Away fond love and Soul divine could have been inscribed – to tease rather than ensnare – any of the Brontë sisters.

And that fourth Valentine? I like to think it was the most special, because it was …

There were many men who could at first and, for a while, please and astonish others, but eventually they would reveal their weak characters, insincerity, even dishonor, until their eyes, hair, form, and words were finer than their appeal. Anne wouldn’t deny William was independent and mischievous, but only as he liked to encourage pluck and cheerfulness in others. It was clear he always meant to do what was right and just, over and over proving his good nature through the tireless kindness he showed everyone, especially those whom circumstance had been most unkind to. At once prepossessing, to some suspiciously so, the longer Anne knew William the more she trusted how she felt about him, especially as he held dear those she did.
~ from Without the Veil Between, Anne Brontë: A Fine & Subtle Spirit

Was William Weightman the love of Anne’s life? Who better than Anne herself to answer … in the way that beautiful poetry tells without saying.

That voice, the magic of whose tone
Can wake an echo in my breast,
Creating feelings that, alone,
Can make my tranced spirit blest.

That laughing eye, whose sunny beam
My memory would not cherish less; —
And oh, that smile! whose joyous gleam
Nor mortal language can express.
from Farewell by Anne Brontë







What had been hope at first sight, a stir of her heart, amiable reserve, foolish diffidence, a February keepsake, time standing still and looking forward with a gentle exchange of words and glances in a trusted parting, was, in a moment … all that was left of William, her William, never hers except as she imagined, always hers as she would forever know him.
~ from Without the Veil Between, Anne Brontë: A Fine & Subtle Spirit


©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Just a Little Foolishness


It might be a day to feel left out, just another Saturday, ordinary and one-of-a-kind, when I’m singularly content with being single.

It might verge on narcissism to send a valentine to myself; although, I think, no more so than to expect one from another.

I have not had the attention of a lover to last a lifetime—although, who knows into eternity. Does that mean I’m lacking or lonely or left out of romance?

Not at all.


Everywhere is an embrace; the place I find myself is full of possibilities for engagement.

I cannot look at the moon and believe I am unloved, sense a breeze and be unmoved, know the birds’ song and feel forgotten.

There are flowers enough to romance me, even in winter I can paint them into view.

There are fires to warm me that I build myself.

Cats gaze into my soul as devotedly as I gaze into theirs.

Music seduces me constantly.

Creation is my purpose, and my words creative enough to convince me my imagination is the only lover I need.

And so I am foolish still.



A thoughtful face can ease the heart that thoughtlessness has given pain


“What a fool you must be,” said my head to my heart, or my sterner to my softer self.”
~ Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey



donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

It’s All About Love – A Valentines Day Tribute

Just a quick announcement:

I will be on Internet Radio tonight!


Image Copyrighted by It Matters Radio 2014

It’s All About Love – A Valentines Day Tribute on It Matters Radio:

Thursday, Feb 13, 9AM (EST)

We’re excited to present to our listeners the winners of our 2014 Valentine Broadcast Contest. From music to humorous and heartfelt tales of love, it is sure to bring listeners the many meanings of Valentines Day.

You will hear the exceptional songs from two very talented female artists, Beth Rudetsky and one we know simply as Kaya as they present their songs of love.

The writers have outdone themselves with flash fiction, prose and poetry reaching into the many meanings this holiday may entail. We welcome Mark Murphy, Diane Denton, Lucille Barker and Salvatore Buttaci, the best from around the world.

I will be involved in a short interview and be reading my winning poem, Clearing for BluebellsThe show begins at 9 pm, Eastern Standard Time and I will be on after 10 pm.  I realize that it won’t be possible for many of you to tune in live, but the program will be recorded and available on podcast.  Here is the link.

Thanks, as always, for all your support and encouragement.

Happy Valentines Day!

Copyright 2014 by DM Denton

Illustration from The Library Next Door – A Kindle Short Story by DM Denton

Rendezvous in Scarborough

Here’s another offering for the lead up to Valentines Day.  It is a repost that has been retitled and revised a little.

Victorian Lady Walking on Beach0001

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

The sun was shining through the blind, and I thought how pleasant it would be to pass through the quiet town and take a solitary ramble on the sands while the world was in bed.
(from ‘ Agnes Grey’, a novel by Anne Brontë)

Her first glimpse of the sea was from a room as small as the experience was vast. It wasn’t the best lodging in Scarborough, but it offered a brightening view of the bay below the promontory where a castle crumbled and sands stretched wider and wider along the indecisive surf.

Wintry gusts whined against and even through the room’s grimy window. She dressed warmly to go out before breakfast.

Things were happening in the harbor with fishing boats; on the pier shops and stalls were preparing to open. Until that morning she had only ever seen gulls playing flying games over plowed fields for the freedom of having lost their way. Now they seemed agitated in a place they belonged. Her footprints on the sand were the first since the last tide, so she could imagine she was walking where no one had before. It was colder than expected, but nothing could dissuade her from approaching the sea and what it might do next. If it had been summer she would have taken off her shoes and stockings and tiptoed into little bursts of foam at the water’s edge where seaweed bobbed to and fro. Instead her gloves were washed in icy sand as she examined shells and pebbles.

Seagulls were circling above her now, the sun dispersing any clouds as it enlarged and chose to illuminate her for whoever was there to see.

A man was coming down the strand in a great cape that belonged to an actor’s wardrobe, hailing her with hand and voice and assuming she was glad to see him.

She surrendered long before he caught up with her.

“You must be perished. Here.”

She stopped the cape from sliding off his shoulders. “Then you’ll be cold.”

“I can bear it.” He turned, wondering what distracted her from him.

It was just a thought. That she might share a little of her passion without any impropriety, looking beyond his intention and the on-looking tiers of tile-roofed houses. She pointed to the northern gray of a simple church presiding like a cathedral. “St Mary’s. Where Anne Brontë is buried.”

“Interesting.” His smile said otherwise.

“Scarborough is where she saw the sea for the first time, too.”

He rubbed her hands.

She no longer had a choice, his cloak embracing as if to hide her, stroked over her ears and cheeks, fastened under and lifting her chin. She was ashamed she could be so ready for his advances: a long kiss, an uncertain happiness, a dance without music, and a pleasure that didn’t know how to be.

The Cathedral bells signaled a chance passing. He held her arms when they separated a little and didn’t seem to notice she was crying. “Ah. I can smell chestnuts roasting. Breakfast.”

In another moment it wasn’t hard to let him go.

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.