Janeczko, Paul B. 2004. Blushing: expressions of love in poems & letters. New York: Orchard Books.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
As the title states, Blushing is a collection of love poems & letters covering all facets of love. This anthology is divided up into five parts: I. The Beginning of Love, II. In Love, III. Alone in Love, IV. The End of Love, & V. Remembering Love. The beginning of each section is highlighted by a letter. Works of over 40 poets, both traditional and contemporary, are displayed. The poets range widely to include Rumi, William Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Nikki Giovanni, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Maya Angelou.
One struggles to find the proper words, the right words to express the deep thoughts and intense emotions exhibit by these poets. Chino Masako conveys new-fangled love in “I Shall Hide Myself:”
I shall hide myself
within the moon of the spring night,
after I have dared to reveal
my love to you.
In “Warmth,” Barton Sutter speaks of being in love:
Sometimes want makes touch too much.
I hold hands over your body
Like someone comes in from the cold
Who takes off his clothes
And hold out his hands to the stove.
Loneliness is the subject of “Separate” by W.S. Merwin:
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
Emily Dickinson addresses heartbreak in “Heart! We Will Forget Him:”
Heart! We will forget him!
You and I – tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave—
I will forget the light!
“Longing” by Matthew Arnold is about unrequited love:
Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again.
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.
All the poems reinforce the topic of their respective section and overall the theme of the book. This collection might not be as well appreciated or understood by young readers or those readers who have never experienced romantic love.