This was a strange idea to me at first but the more I think about it, the more I like it. I always enjoy finding books second-hand or, even better, inheriting them with someone else's thoughts on the page. It shows how that person interacted and was moved in some way by the text. Also, I want to share my thoughts with my cousin and yet there is no knowing if we will ever sit down together for the purpose of discussing the poems. And, who knows, perhaps she will notice and remember something I have written or underlined and will mention it at some point. Even if it does not happen at least I have conveyed what I would like to to her. I believe that this makes the book so much more personal.
I now have decided that in future I shall attempt to do the same for all the books that I give away. The idea may lend itself better to some types of books and some types of people than to others (I wouldn't want to do it to a coffeetable book or one given to a type-A personality!) so I shall keep that in mind but I am happy that I was thus inspired in this particular case. And I do believe that I have improved the gift by so doing.
So, to commemorate this inspiration, here is a poem:
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dias of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.
And to put the title of the poem in context:
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. -John 3:3-8