Tuesday, October 21, 2008

#60 - Whetstone

As life returns to its normal cadence and rhythm of work and sleep and TV and work and sleep and TV, I managed to finish Lorna Crozier's lovely book of poetry, Whetstone. I had taken the volume with me to read in Tofino but was still struggling through American Pastoral (more tk on that). So I went back to my poetry in transit and started the book on the Friday I returned to work.

Crozier's poems have their roots in the natural world and are almost conversations over the course of a life. Some of them are meditations on a life in the process of being lived (like "Autobiography: Birth" that opens the book). And some are lovely pieces of almost Romantic-like poetry that express an almost whimsical yet utterly grounded adoration for the natural world ("Winter Birches"). Overall, my favourite poems in the collection were the three all with the same title, "Drought" sprinkled throughout the book. The first begins, "Water is suddenly old. / It feels stiffness, / a lessoning deep down."

I found this idea, this image, of water growing old with whiskers and wrinkles and weathered utterly fascinating. I couldn't help but think about our whale. About how my RRHB said that it's no wonder he/she came up to see us at the side of the boat because they must swim to some of the loneliest places on earth. Some of the places where even the water, the ocean itself, must feel old and aching. As each takes the idea of drought in a different direction, the opposing wetness of it, the ache for that same wet, and the dusty, dirt-hemmed skirtness of it, the poems are nice compliments to one another.

Even if Crozier's language remains simple and straightforward throughout, her thoughts, her comparisons and her poet's eye is complex, and more often than not, I went back to re-read many of the pieces, underlining phrases that caught my breath and left me alone with my own thoughts.

READING CHALLENGES: Listed as #10 in my "For the Ladies" 2008 Canadian Book Challenge, finishing Whetstone brings me up to #5!

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