"The purpose of a book is to serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us." -Franz Kafka
If the purpose of a book is to take an axe to our frozen hearts, the purpose of this book is to take an axe to my heart which was frozen without poetry.
Roger Housden tells us in his introduction, "Great poetry, like art, is a bridge between our heart and the heart of the world." Though the ten poems highlighted in this book may not clearly be love poems in the typical sense, they all have a message that can help melt our hearts toward mankind, ourselves, or toward God. These poems all help open the heart of love by "embracing our frailties, our mortality, the clay of our human nature."
In "West Wind #2", Mary Oliver she encourages us to turn our boats toward the falls (love) and row.
---when you hear the unmistakable pounding---when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming---then row, row for your life toward it.
Housden reminds us when using a rowboat one moves forward by turning around and facing backwards to row. "Mary Oliver is saying it again: you cannot hope to see what lies ahead when it comes to a life lived with love."
Wislawa Szmborska's "Love at First Sight" challenges "the assumption that love at first sight erupts out of nowhere." Who's to say that a couple haven't been moving toward and next to each other for years?
Every beginningMy husband and I both attended University of Oregon but never met until after graduation. While in school we could have stood in line to pay our tuition, sat next to each other at a football game, drank from the same drinking fountain, or ate burgers sitting in nearby booths at Taylor's Bar. For all we know for years prior to meeting, the universe was conspiring to bring us together so that by the time we did meet our book of events was open halfway through. And for the record, my husband and I had a lot of fun, after reading this poem, imagining all the times we may have run into each without realizing it before we actually met. This poem opened those thoughts for us.
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.
The poem "Love" by Czeslaw Milosz asks us to look at ourselves as from a distance.
Love means to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
Ane whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills---
I don't think he just means a healing from narcissism but a healing of self so as to be open to what the world has to offer. Truly to be open to love, we have to love ourselves but we also have to be open to loving others.
In the first line of the final poem in the book, "Buoyancy" by Rumi, we are reminded of the connection of love and poetry.
Love has taken away all my practices
And filled me with poetry.
I hope this review has encouraged you to find a poem you love today. And once you find it you can read it to the person you love. Have fun with it, too.