I’ve always struggled with poetry. I see it as some higher art form which I’m not really intelligent enough to understand. When I “get” a poem, I love it and feel a sense of achievement. But too often I sit staring at the page, wondering if there was something I missed. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case with this anthology.
In her collection, Marlen Komar writes about life and love. She sees beauty in the things people might take for granted, like the way the curtains catch on the breeze on a spring morning, the small moments of happiness. She writes about the stars and the night sky: they are the lines on her lover’s hand, a riddle to be unpicked. Some of the most beautiful poems though are about loss and hurt, how sometimes when the memories and the pain go hand in hand, to live without them would be even more painful. One of my favourite poems When Ever Runs Out considers what happens when love doesn’t last for the forever that was promised:
“We’ve reached the end of endless and moved onto the dark space that’s just past the horizon. With tired eyes we’re now beyond the spot where the sky meets the sea and there’s nothing magic behind the curtain. The stars are just held up by strings that creek and groan as they sway on their heavy ropes, rocked by the quiet breezes that follow the words was, was, was. The night sky is just a crudely painted layer of black and, up this close, I’m not even sure what the lullaby is about anymore. The eddies are thick with dust and abandon. My hair turns white and my lungs burn as they breathe in their history.
That’s how things are when we said forever and forever has left us behind.”
The meaning of the poems themselves are accessible, conjuring emotions that are easily relatable which means you aren’t pulled out of the moment. Have Courage, My Love talks of how life’s disappointments and hurt are the experiences of being alive:
“Life breaks at you. It tears at you, kicks you down, and every time, at the end of every round,
It reaches down and, with conviction, says
This is a book to dip in and out of. Being someone who reads prose more than poetry, I tried to read it like a book. This makes the themes slightly repetitive. But by giving myself more time between readings, I came to appreciate individual poems more and enjoyed the lyrical nature of the writing as well as the beauty of some of the lines.
“It was six o’clock and the sun started to fade, its rays slowly melting like thick wax on the sidewalk, turning everything into a wet gold.”