This book is a companion in poetry and prose along the journey of love and marriage. It is a song of praise to the love between two people, and to the commitment to that love demonstrated in marriage.
As it evolves over time, marriage, like life, passes through seasons and stages, peaks and valleys. The book is organized by these stages of marriage, from the wedding day to the last days. Each section begins with an essay that reflects on the stage, followed by four poems that illuminate the experiences of marriage in ways that we can appreciate and understand, but may find difficult to express.
Poems reach us in ways that surpass other forms of expression, especially when the subject concerns matters of the heart. The prose and poetry here provide not only inspiration for the journey, but also support and wisdom.
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I will begin my review by saying that I have only read one other book of poetry. Consequently, I am not sure if there is a “correct” way to rate a book of poetry so I will approach this review as I have other books in other genres.I loved the simplistic beauty of this book. The compilation of poems, from poets both ancient and modern, would have been beautiful by themselves; however, Roger Housden‘s essays provided a wonderfully intelligent cohesiveness between them.The poems were separated into six major areas of emphasis:1. The Joy - celebrates new love and marital commitment2. The Journey - focuses on two individuals becoming one and going through everyday life3. The Work - delves on the growth of a relationship that is gained through shared experiences and challenges4. The Love - explores the different forms and aspects of love5. The Union - focuses on the the melding of two souls that begins after marriage and expands throughout it6. Saving Grace - Loved this one because it deals with imperfections.This was an excellent compilation. I have already placed two on my Amazon wishlist to purchase when they become available in December. I made so many notes in my Kindle that I’m just going to point out a few of the most beautiful stanzas that I read.Roy Croft:I love youNot only for what you areBut for who I amWhen I am with youJane Hirshfield:Let the vow of this day keep itself wildly and whollySpoken and silent, surprise you in your earsSleeping and waking, unfold itself inside your eyesLet its fierceness and tenderness hold youDenise Levertov:Don’t lock me in wedlock, I want marriage, an encounterAnd finally from Stephen Dunn:Love itself has risen from its squalor of neglectThe simplicity in the poems presented would have major meaning and impact for married hearts — new and long lived. Housden states that Marriage is a crucible that commits into form the love that we have for another, and in so doing, it joins us to the passage of time. It takes our winged feet, holds them on the ground, and binds us at the ankles to the one we have chosen. To me, this translates to:Marriage is a bond that forges a commitment between two individuals. Their commitment keeps them in their bond when life, difficulties, and challenges come that would/could encourage them to otherwise flee it.I will definitely pick up other books of poetry by Mr. Housden because this one was so superbly presented!The book provided as a Net Galley review copy for an honest review.