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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Deeper into the Pond by J.R.McRae, November 26, 2011
By 
This review is from: Deeper into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity (The Celebration Series of Chapbooks Book 5) (Kindle Edition)
DEEPER INTO THE POND - A Celebration of Femininity
by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

This is a rich tapestry of a celebration.

It opens with Carolyn's verse and a ballad of marine exotica and moves to the name bearing poem "Narcissus Revisited" which mirrors the suffocation of `progress' that gives freedoms with one hand and takes with the other. Here the deadly oil slick wall kills as readily as any of glass - progressive killing -

Those who feel
new freedoms like I, some later-borns
unaware that they are new, accept
the yellow-bright shimmer
spread across the surface
as if it were our doing
or our due.

The next poem makes a nod to John Masefield's " Sea Fever" but taking it in role reversal with ship at dock and the poet manning the great swooping cranes that unload.

I want to go down to the sea at dawn
with a lunch bucket and thermos,

[and then]
pull
and push the big gear shifts to make a boom

tall as a building turn, swing down toward carloads
of gravel, clamp chunks of whatever freighters

I love the bittersweet of "Ariel" and its death-defying reach in to the unknowable.

You need
the music to tell your story,
to find it, to understand it
to know the truth,
to reach above the
ocean's surface
where
others
live.

Death is horribly present in the all too revelatory "what I once would have called a little tiff". Those of us who have lived long enough know too well of what she speaks...

i learned
to call a spat a spat,
an inheritance something
more than money,
an argument,
a fight-to-the-death.

Magdalena's opening poem both celebrates and denounces the hippy freedom of a generation that chose to `love' but not their children well.

secretly leaning in for more
parenting I didn't get
punishment I
deserved
no rod spared
here
no spoiling.

"Time Out" speaks of the guilt trip that is motherhood if you are, as many creatives are, a perfectionist and time your merciless master .

I shoot a response
what now?
two bullets of frustration land in
her timeless lap
as she slips off.

Magdalena has written a powerfully poignant tribute to all those frightened elderly flood victims, trapped in rising waters and psychologically unable to leave their lives behind -

You pretend
three hundred netfriends
hold your virtual hand
take you places
that don't involve
leaving
home
the perpetual womb
shroud
you've pushed into.

Magdalena's "Coming Back ends the collection with an almost whispered reverie on love and loss in a no man's land of guilt and recriminations -

No one dared point a finger.

We tried not to look at her but it was hard.

So we looked out of the corner of our eye when
we walked past, our heads thrown back fake
laughter all the while drawn towards the silence
of that pain the peripheral gravity that wouldn't
let us settle into our evening of forgetting.

This collection offers the feminine take on life, love and everything in between and does it with élan!
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