It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared a post for Poetry Friday. I am back this week with this exquisite picturebook that I chanced upon in our library.
Just by glancing at the book cover, I knew it was perfect for our current reading theme where we are celebrating contours of love. This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by the gorgeous Renée M. LaTulippe of No Water River.
Edited By: Blue Lantern Studio
Published by: Laughing Elephant, MMX, 2010
ISBN: 1595833838 (ISBN13: 9781595833839). Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I have always been fascinated by this fusion of art and verse in picturebook format. A few years back, we featured Maya Angelou’s Love’s Exquisite Freedom with paintings by Edward Burne-Jones (see my review shared for Poetry Friday back in 2015 here).
However, unlike Maya Angelou’s poem, I Love You is a collection of poems that revel in the glorious expression of love. While there are already quite a number of love poem anthologies, very few are matched by gorgeous art work. According to the editors, this was their intention behind the creation of this collection:
This gathering of poems and pictures is intended as gift from one who loves to the one they love. We wish each poem to be an avowal of love, and each picture a reinforcement of the poem it accompanies…
… One way that literature serves us is in saying beautifully and precisely the things we have in our heart, but lack the language to express. Few of us can speak of our love with any grace or precision. This book enlists the aid of Shakespeare, Shelley, Marlowe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and others to make our avowals.
We read many poems in gathering these, and then searched for images which would reinforce each one. Finally we turned the text over to our designer and asked him to make a book that was the equivalent of a bouquet of flowers.
While I am not a huge fan of ye olde classic poetry, I do feel that there is still something timeless about them, regardless of the fact that they do not nearly move me as much as say, unrhymed, contemporary, more gritty love poems.
I also loved how the editors did manage to find the exact painting that seemed to have inspired the creation of the love poem – see below for the artistic match of Robert Burns’ A Red Red Rose:
Here is my Poetry Friday offering and the one that resonated with me the most, Captured by Archibald MacLeish.
CAPTURED BY ARCHIBALD MACLEISH
Under the elm tree where the river reaches
They watched the evening deepen in the sky,
They watched the westward clouds go towering by
Through lakes of blue toward those shining beaches,
Those far enchanted strands where blowing tides
Break into light along the shallow air:
They watched how like a tall ship’s lantern there
Over that stormy surf the faint star rides.
Ship of a dream, he thought—O dreamed-of shore
Beyond all oceans and all earthly seas!
Now would they never call him any more;
Now would they never hurt him with unease.
She was that ship, that sea, that siren land,
And she was here, her hand shut in his hand.
For some reason, this sense of ‘capture’ does not feel like an entrapment: the vision of the open river, the oceans and seas, and that siren land – somehow make the image of “her hand shut in his hand” comforting, rather than threatening or alienating. To be so enclosed, to be so loved. This image above also reminded me of a candid photo that my daughter has taken of my husband and I at the Englischer Garten in Munich, a year ago, where my heart lives.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: United Kingdom (most of the poems are from Britain)