Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weaving the Light, by Mary Ruth Donnelly

Mary Ruth Donnelly's new chapbook is looking for readers! Weaving the Light is a pleasure to read, and to re-read.

Donnelly's poetry is informed by both the organic world and the composition / recomposition of art within that world. Many of her poems are a simple walk through a natural setting that opens a reflection on so much more. Others are responses to artistic pieces and tell their own complex and inviting stories. Some are explorations of deep griefs faced, explored and fully encountered, often through nature or art or simply the experience of moving down a road, through the city.

A poem from her Tea Journals series uses a decaying city and a journey, the physical world and the small but brilliant comfort of taste, to locate a purpose for moving forward:

Rooibos Tropica

St. Mary of Victories

Wet, heavy clouds
crowd the ramp to the bridge.
Rain has washed away the morning's snow.
Concrete arches, rust stained,
hoist a precarious railroad bridge
over the river, the bottoms,
and the highway I drive on.
The old Powell Building,
its huge windows shattered,
its red bricks graffitied,
abuts the bridge's entry ramp.
The tower of an old church
anchors a neighborhood
that must have been there
before the highway, warehouses
and empty factories.

As I speed toward this growing dark,
a hint of rose at the back
of my mouth
surprises me,
blue mallow petals and lemon:

a pool of yellow light
a small room in a walkup
a kettle on the stove, a day too short
for the work it held,
some warmth, some sleep.

The poems, in the end, speak for themselves. Here's another one:
Something fine

about the morning,
the mild wind,
Queen Anne’s Lace drift in the meadow
below the wooden porch
and beyond the cropped yard and garden.
Across the draw, the pasture’s
gray waiting, damp, quiet,
turns gold suddenly,
not at all startled
by the sun as it rises
above the oaks.

Weaving the Light (ISBN 978-0-9748468-6-6) is $10. Email Cherry Pie or call or stop by Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid, St. Louis, MO 63108 (ph 314.367.6731).

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