To me, Longfellow is the literary equivalent of comfort food. As a teenager, I would turn to his poetry again and again. I never grew bored because I chose Longfellow for the way his words made me feel. When I was lost or heartbroken and needed a friend, he was always there, waiting on my bookshelf.
I would stretch out on my bed, turning the pages of my book to The Day Is Done or The Bridge, and speak the words aloud, as though I were reading them to a beloved child. Peace always followed because Longfellow understood me--he had experienced in his day what I was going through in mine. Crossing time, he reached out and threw me a lifeline.
Back then, I didn’t see how human bonds could surpass the kinship of author and reader. Because at that moment I loved Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and like a wise, kindly grandfather, he belonged only to me. There wasn’t another person, living or dead, who understood me as he did, and with sweet reunion, his healing words met my mind. I turned them to suit my mood and put them away in my heart. He had saved me yet again, my gentle poet.
Thank you, Henry. All these years later, you're still my hero.
Do you have any comfort books?