An Illustrated Book of True Love Poems
by Dave Courtney-Shore
Balboa Press

"You know when you are in love it does not lie
Sometimes you feel you can touch the sky"

This slim volume includes both whimsical and erotic poetry about love. The author presents a deeply personal look at the many aspects of the emotion. From the giddy headiness one feels at the beginning of a love affair to the despair one might experience when separated from a lover, this work examines the ecstasy and anguish of passionate love.

The book consists of fifty-five poems of varying length, each illustrated to enhance its meaning. Celebrating the intense emotional rollercoaster one experiences from romantic love, most reflect feelings of deep passion and affection. In the poem "You Know When You Are in Love," the author relates this sentiment: "You know when you are in love, it does not lie / Sometimes you feel you can touch the sky / It's a feeling you can't suppress / You're in turmoil, maybe in stress / Out of control? / Is this you or someone else?" In this excerpt, the poet examines not only the extremes in emotion that being in love evoke but also the common human experience of losing a part of one's self when involved in a romantic relationship.

Not only does the author write of the intense joys of the new love relationship, but he also includes poems concerning a more mature love. In the poem "Till the Sun Goes Down," there is a noticeable shift to the more established relationship. "Walk with me until the Sun goes down / Lie with me and explore the love we have found / Sleep with me and keep me warm / Love me and keep me away from peril and harm." The theme of this brief romantic poem displays a profoundly deep maturity in its simplicity. The lovers have moved through the intoxicating highs of new love to the comforting safety of a love based on knowledge and trust. The poem's speaker reflects the control and self-awareness that comes with the confidence and trust that develops between lovers as their relationship grows.

Of course, when working with the theme of romantic love, it seems inevitable that one must include at least a few works that delve into the melancholy. The author offers up two such poems addressing the sadness that falls upon all. For example, in "Loneliness," the speaker is quite desolate as he contemplates his fragile state. "I sit in a lonely place in a cold dark cavern lost in time / Hollow, deep, black, bleak and sublime / Cold unfeeling lonely, only me, and nothing but mine /…In the dark, walking with ghosts in my shadows /Just me a lonely lovelorn figure /Hopeless, beaten and feeling unwanted / Awaiting love and warmth / With no finger on the trigger." This poem's inclusion among mostly positive and joyful ones illustrates the difference that a true love relationship can make in a person's life. The stark contrast between ecstatic love poems and ones that emote darker sensibilities is reflective of life's ebb and flow, the joys and sorrows that befall humanity. The author captures these themes perfectly in these poems of despair.

Many of the poems in this collection relay pure happiness in simple verse, recognizing and extolling the human capacity to love deeply. The author dedicates the book "to all those in love and especially the one that I love," which explains the work's personal nature. It is evident that this collection is one whose impetus is the poet's own experience. Readers who appreciate the simple, honest musings of one whose purpose is to share personal reflections of love's intense range of sentiments will find much to enjoy in this ingenious offering.

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