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poetry books

speak sweetly my love

By February 14, 2014 Books

In their bedroom sits a little bookshelf where every secret of my parents’ marriage is hiding. Stacks of poetry books, given by Dad to Mom, neatly line up on shelves where I lean, searching through volumes, searching… for the stuff of life. 

Through all the happy clatter and chaos of growing up, words impressed themselves on me.  Most of the cards and letters given to me from my parents contain beautiful inscriptions, even this volume, given to me on Valentine’s Day a decade ago.

From it, some gems to share:

For my daughters and their friends setting out to conquer the world:


She wants a man she can just
unfold when she needs him
then fold him up again
like those 50 cent raincoats
women carry in their purses
in case they get caught in stormy weather.

This one has her thumb out
for a man who’s going her way.
She’ll hitch with him awhile,
let him take her down the road
for a piece.

But I want to take you where you’re going,
I’m unfolding for you
like a roadmap you can never again fold up
exactly as the same before.

– Harryette Mullen

 For friends wondering if they should still hope:

Love comes quietly

Love comes quietly,
finally, drops
about me, on me
in the old ways.

What did I know
thinking myself
about to go
alone all the way.

– Robert Creeley


For winter-weary lovers everywhere, including my own Valentine.


Sometimes want make touch too much.
I hold my hands over your body
Like someone come in from the cold
Who takes off his clothes
And holds out his hands to the stove.

– Barton Sutter

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For more poetry see: A flame in two cupped hands

Photo credits Paschalis Gogos.

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