A Few Forms of Love
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
A Few Forms of Love Richard Brostoff
A Few Forms of Love
Finishing Line Press
Review by Rene Schwiesow
Richard Brostoff is a psychiatrist who finds that writing poetry in the morning enables him to return to his office in the afternoon with his mind “more fluent and at ease with trope.” He feels that his writing helps him to better address another’s wilderness.
What better way to address his readers’ wilderness than through forms of love? Erich Fromm, the German psychologist and philosopher stated: “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Brostoff’s poems on love speak to the love of nature and to the love and loss of an other.
In “Green Song” Brostoff combines nature and human love as he often does throughout the book:
I miss the swampland of our wanting
where a low lit creature crawls
reptilian in my veins.
“Beneath a Storm” takes a look at Valentine’s Day, showing us that romance can be found even in the ordinary moments coveted during a winter snowfall.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and in the early light
at six a.m. I am dozing by your side.
Other men will rush to buy their wives
red hearts of cinnamon, carnations bunched
with baby’s breath, red lacey cards.
I buy you white pajamas
of fine Egyptian cloth,
not certain what the color means.
When Brostoff talks of loss and grief he is fluid and we can see the beauty even in the melancholy. In “Canyon”
Grief finds, like water, slow erosions,
drifts and stammerings
and wears things down
in geological time, transforming
what it touches
making us what we are,
layered as the canyons forms,
both beautiful and sad.
The work entitled “Grief” ends with a blockbuster three lines:
You hold an absence
at your center,
as if it were a life.
If the question is what is love? Then Brostoff has, indeed, given us a satisfactory answer.
***Rene Schwiesow is co-host of the popular South Shore venue The Art of Words in Plymouth, MA. She writes a monthly column for the arts in Plymouth’s Old Colony Memorial.