In most moments throughout this collection of poems, John and Mary are meeting – physically or through memory or in their words – though they are hardly together, separated by differing views/experiences, and by presentation on the page.
They do share similarities. Mary ‘can’t talk to everyone’ and ‘even John/doesn’t say much’. And they have a history together, if not tightly together, and the poems display this visually, as well as darkly in the language that mixes everyday companionship – say through dancing – and the struggle of even this,
Everything seems once, a time before. So there was a time when ‘flowers/were for cutting’ and the now or after is ‘not/time for sharing’.
In the reality of dislocation which, as I have said, the poems visually reflect the distances, the poems also reflect beauty/grace through their lyrical expression,
The poems also convey significant drama, at times of despair and defiance, and this is performed palpably for our reading,
I should say that I make this claim to meaning, or at least to mood and impact, but as a reader I am often as uncertain as Mary and John and the uncertain time and world they occupy – so what I sense is an evocation each time, whether in the here and now or their past as we move constantly between these poles [or concurrent realities].
In this fluidity of time and place and feeling, water plays a thematic role through many poems, and a whale might sing a story or rain cascade its confusion.
As we proceed through the poems there are continual references to a history of experience we as readers can all understand, both in terms of its existence and as a backdrop to damaged lives,
In a later poem Mary writes a love letter, and the fragility/instability of goodness in life, past and present, is beautifully conveyed which I mention because the pervading darkness I paint is real but the ‘light’ of love held ‘like sand’ will be ‘counted’ for reassurance in our lives and as in the poem some time we are heroes.
I count this sand in the penultimate poem casting nets for single voices and I commend to you this stylistically distinctive collection of poems where the universality of human relationships is, among many moving impressions, a haunting as well as affirming exploration.
More details and to purchase here.