a breakup, in books: love poems

i bought this little anthology as a valentine’s day gift for myself some years back.


last year, carol ann duffy came to singapore as one of the keynote speakers for the singapore writers festival (swf), and my lovely friend, grace, invited me for a poetry reading by her.

i brought my books to be autographed, and, on the spur of the moment, got madame de poet laureate to address this book to him and me.


‘oh, that’s my brother’s name!’, she commented as she wrote.

two weeks and a day later, e announced that it was over between us.

what do i do with this potent reminder of a failed relationship?

jy, ever elegantly pragmatic, has offered her services: ‘well, shall i liquid paper his name off for you?’ nad sighed out loud: ‘given that she’s a love poet, perhaps she should have known better than to inscribe a lover’s name in a book’.

how fickle the heart, how fleeting love is. of course, one can never fully appreciate the beauty and anguish of love poems until one has been in (and out of) love. why does it have to be so painful though?


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