poetry friday

It’s Valentine Week here in GatheringBooks, and what better way to celebrate the Day of Lovers than to share one of the most luscious art forms there is: poetry. Our lovely host this week is no other than our Featured Academic here in GatheringBooks, the indefatigable Linda Baie from Teacher Dance. Make sure that you visit Linda’s blog to check out chocolate-filled poetry offerings (with flowers on the side, red roses, methinks) – I am predicting that there will be lovelovelove in the air.


I was glad to find this book in our library, as it is in keeping with our Crazy Over Cybils theme until end of February: More than Friends – Poems from Him and Her a Cybils Finalist for Poetry in 2008.


There are 53 poems in all in this collection and as the title indicates – the book is essentially about an extended love song written by a boy (in the voice of Allan Wolf) and a girl (Sara Holbrook in this case) to each other. The book opens to a two page spread of two poems entitled: What do you do when she looks at you? on one side and What do you do when he looks at you? on the other side. It is that cute and ingenious.

The reader is privy to both male and female perspectives as they go through the entire gamut of emotions that falling in love brings: from the gradual acknowledgment of attraction (I hope she likes the way I wear my tee/ You Think I dressed Myself for him Today?) to falling head over heels in love (How Can I even hope to keep this in?) to losing one’s self in the relationship (I hope this Magic Journey Never Ends) to the inevitable fights (I Thought that Things were Really Going Great/ The Truth Revealed Between the Lines/ The Argument [for two voices]) and the not-so-neat-but-often-messy-and-confusing endings (Apology/ Before you knocked). While I would have preferred gorgeous black and white illustrations to the black and white photographs that are found in the book, I suppose it is meant to appeal to a teenage audience.

This book is about being seventeen all over again. I read it in one night, less than two hours, I think. Reminded me of foolish dreams, strange and unfamiliar feelings, hateful uncertainties that drive one crazy, and the dizzy way one feels when in love. Ah. Romance. Among the titles in this book, I was ensnared by this poem, and as such will be my poetry offering to you, dear friends.


And Valentine’s Week would not be complete without a song: Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You, because love stories do not necessarily need to have a happy ending. Perhaps as the poem goes, “our story takes so long to comprehend; I fall asleep before I reach the end.” And Joni Mitchell aptly phrases it when she says love can be both bitter and sweet. Perhaps it’s as simple as “touching souls” in a surreal, dreamlike snapshot in time, and having someone in your blood ‘like holy wine’ (despite their being ‘inconstant’) because it is the way it is.

Just before our love got lost you said
“I am as constant as a northern star”
And I said “Constantly in the darkness
Where’s that at?
If you want me I’ll be in the bar”

On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada
Oh Canada
With your face sketched on it twice
Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet

Oh I could drink a case of you darling
Still I’d be on my feet
oh I would still be on my feet

Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I’m frightened by the devil
And I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid

I remember that time you told me you said
“Love is touching souls”
Surely you touched mine
‘Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet

Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said
“Go to him, stay with him if you can
But be prepared to bleed”

Oh but you are in my blood
You’re my holy wine
You’re so bitter, bitter and so sweet

Oh, I could drink a case of you darling
Still I’d be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

More than Friends: Poems from Him and Her by Sara Holbrook and Allan Wolf. Front Street Press, 2008. Book borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.


Cybils Finalist for Poetry in 2008

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 13 of 35


Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 35 of 150

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

15 comments on “Poetry Friday: His and Hers for Valentine Week and A Case of You

  1. Fats Suela

    Being in a long distance relationship leaves me with no choice but to dream of him every night. Oh, but the romance is there all day, all night. =)


  2. The poetry book looks like a lovely one for our older students, Myra. How sweet is the poem you shared from that book. I like that “I dream about your smile and then press replay.” The song is quite a love song, isn’t it? “Oh I could drink a case of you darling.” Ah-h! Thanks for all, & hope your Valentine’s day was memorable!


  3. Like a Feather Lifting has such beautiful rhythms, and Joni Mitchell? What would I have done without her in my youth? Her BLUE album was my first record ever. Talk about “replay…”


  4. I loved the softness of the poem, Myra…the dreamy longing of love. But Joni Mitchell was my favorite part of this post- there is no other voice that can convey both the ethereal and the earthy…such a treat to begin my day with this song running through my mind!


  5. Like like like!!

    Thanks for featuring a poem from More Than Friends — I remember it well since it was a finalist the year I was a Poetry Judge :). We had quite a debate and good dialog over it. Alas, for all its merits, only one book could win. The emotions of teenage love and angst and uncertainty and romance — ring so true here, don’t they?

    And if that wasn’t enough, you post one of my all-time favorite songs!! BLUE is my fave Joni album, possibly one of the best singer songwriter albums of all time. Love how Tara described Joni — the ethereal and the earthy. YES!!


  6. On my way to the library to see if I can get my hands on this book. Sounds like both the male and female perspective are well represented. Love! Thanks for sharing, Myra! =)


  7. I hadn’t heard of that book, Myra…sounds like a nice way to relive some memories!


  8. Two beautiful offerings here! Loved the poem “what was, what is and what is yet to be”….and Joni…well, what can I say? Loved her from the first time I heard her many years ago. Thanks!


  9. Oh, Joni. “I live in a box of paints.” Love and sadness and oh! I remember the love poems book, but hadn’t thought of it in a while! Thank you so much for the reminder. Nothing quite like young love.


  10. Listening to the song right now — it’s new to me. Makes me want to see her paintings! Thanks for sharing both of these today.


  11. That book looks like one for my middle school shelves!


  12. Yup! That poem you picked took my right back to my teens!!


  13. Somehow I missed this book! Thanks so much for sharing. Ahh, those angsty, intense young love adventures…

    Hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day/week!


  14. Hi, Myra. I met my husband when I was 16 and he was 17. The poem you posted from More Than Friends really took me back.


  15. Pingback: #GB101020 [Poetry Friday] List of 10 Poetry Friday Posts Over The Years – Gathering Books

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