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on March 11, 2011 :
Margaret’s poems are always personal, and yet universal, in that any sensitive reader will be able to identify with the thoughts they embody. Her poetry is lyrical, but never maudlin, as there is always an admirable lack of inner resistance to the very vicissitudes of her life that became the germs of all her memorable lines.
I still remember reading her poetry for the first time on my way to the Himalayas. I was instantly struck by her sincerity, the meticulous pruning of her diction to make sure her vocabulary reflected the degree and subtle nuances of the feelings she wanted to convey.
This particular anthology focuses on letting go of your children “when their hours are no longer woven into the fabric of your days”. As a reader, I had mostly shied away from poetry, as I thought I lacked the kind of patience required to fully savour and appreciate each condensed, pithy line of poetry. Reading this book, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that poetry can be concise and still be elaborate as prose: “.... you will continue to build. / What kind of house, how simple, / how elaborate, none can say - / and only one has the say, / however influenced by opinions, / even vehement. ....” (From And so you are Ready).
The poet not just gives voice to feelings that are often repressed, but sincerely seeks to heal: “Why is time / to be filled to overflowing, / no space for thought or breathing, / like a competition to be won?” (From Thinking of the One Who Left). In the process, she not only experiences spiritual catharsis, but also the invaluable peace that is engendered by it: “Experiencing this one expansive moment. / Not remembering the past / or
planning the future, / but sitting, breathing / still and open, actively receiving, / blessed in a shower of abundance.” (From Paradox). Above all, this is a labour of love from a simple and loving mother, adorned with words from the heart and simple photographs that complement the words beautifully: “Swallow, breathe, / rebuild / this time from cell-bricks / of purest love, / tempered in the oven / of life as it plays out, ....” (From Melting).
I highly recommend this book not just to any parent who is at a point where they have to let go of their children, but also to all sensitive readers who are working on letting go in any way.
- Pramod Uday.
India, 12 Mar, 2011.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)