“If ever two were one, then surely we.” So says the seventeenth-century poet Anne Bradstreet. These days, her portrayal of the marriage bond as one of unconditional mutual devotion might underestimate the complexity of the husband/wife relationship.
The other poems in this vivid and entertaining mini-anthology go on to celebrate just that.
Our selection offers moments of tenderness, romance and wry humour. There’s a poem in which a newly-married woman reflects on the “woosh” sound of the word wife and another where a man wonders about a woman he’s never met, as if he could have married her.
We encounter a mysterious wife who arrives when the tide is right, while for Tiffany Atkinson a husband is like a farmers’ market, his heart “…a loom of many rhizomes”.
These beguiling poems are arranged in pairs so they speak to each other across the page – rather like a husband and wife engrossed in conversation across an old kitchen table.