And With Thy Spirit
Author: April Bulmer
Title: And With Thy Spirit
Trade Paperback: 81 pages
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $19.95
E-Stores: Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Indigo and other e-stores worldwide.
Check each e-store for the best price on book and shipping as prices tend to vary from store to store.
In her new book, And With Thy Spirit, award-winning poet and mystic, April Bulmer, speaks in the tongues of many women based on her visions of past lives. Even her favourite tree is a familiar old soul and “bows his stiff knees/ to weather.”
And With Thy Spirit is a new book of poetry in which author, April Bulmer, unravels the story of her soul like gauze from a bandaged wound. Confident in the Eastern philosophy of reincarnation: the concept that we begin a life after biological death in a new body (human, animal or spiritual), she describes the garden of women who bloom like damp blossoms from her fertile womb. She recalls the stories of their roots, the energy of their suns and moons.
Life after life, the Lord has taken her, often in the dim “when shadows genuflect/ on buffalo skin.” A feminine soul deeply entrenched in Native culture and ritual her God limps for her like “an old coyote/ past miracle sites/ and stones of pagans./ Through fallen fields/ where the living send/ their prayers.”
Her women have also enjoyed the company of many men. Lucille Sky, for instance, walks the river with her lover their “souls speaking tongue: canoes and fish/ and the God of blood.” She wants Johnny Nanticoke’s brown hand on her breast “like a shadow/ on Grandmother Moon.”
April’s ghostly incarnations often come to her in “the moments before sleep,” their hair wild with dream.
In her new book of poetry And With Thy Spirit, award-winning writer April Bulmer claims we have passed this way before. Firmly committed to the concept of reincarnation, the Eastern religious or philosophical belief that the soul begins a life after biological death in a new body (human, animal, or spiritual), her poems are visions of her feminine roots firmly buried in the fertile soil of her soul.
The book reflects the lives of 15 women and their various ethnic and religious backgrounds. It begins with her current incarnation as April and her complex relationship with her father which she believes is mired in the damp earth of earlier days. Psychoanalysts and hypnotherapists sometimes suggest that we travel in karmic groups and affect each other’s destiny life after life as our paths cross.
After her father died in 2001, April imagined he was ill at first, his eyes “sick and rheumy” and his spiritual body in need of medicine and the comfort of nurses and women. But there are moments of peace in her poems when she imagines he sleeps with blankets in the afterlife and is “warm to dream,” his former troubled mind “an aura of evergreen.”
While April is concerned with her father, Bernadette is mother-centered and focused on feminine issues. She prays for mums “their shades/ their suns.” For her mother “will die like a blossom” and “her stem will lean/ into light/ though her roots/ will wither in the dim,” she says.
Lucille Sky, a contemporary Native woman, lives on the Grand River in western Ontario. It speaks to her of people kneeling at its bank “washing the fish/ from their hands.” She has reverence for the Grand for God “built” it and delivered it “in His great Arms,” she says. Lucille is also devoted to her lover whose medicines are a “musk” on her skin but who, at night, is “shiver-and-gone,“ though he prays for her, kneeling “upon cut wheat/ a temple in chanting rain.”
Elizabeth, however, is Roman Catholic and identifies with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary calls to her from a Miracle Site on the Saskatchewan prairie. But Elizabeth also suffers from mood swings and in a later poem “Mania” her eyes are like “swollen fish/ drowned and risen.” Fortunately, she finds relief in Mary, who is “lined with herbs, potions/and remedies,” like a medicine woman.
Elvira focuses on the Goddess, a celestial deity who plays the moon and strikes “it with the palms of her white hands.” Great-with-child, Elvira imagines her daughter will “bloom/ in the sun” and that her hands will “open like buds.”
Lucinda, Reader of Dreams, blossoms “among the shadows/ of a full moon/ on a chill month.” She identifies with the Dream Maker his “patterns and glue.”
Lily, however, is Chinese and concerned with her mother, who has recently passed, and who “is the fabric/ of silk.”
Miriam lives in Israel and experiences God as uncomfortably silent. He speaks “the language of flowers/ their quiet songs.”
Maria is haunted by ghosts “their thin clothes/ smell like the breeze” and desires a child who will hatch like a dove from her “cage of frail bone.”
Cora lived in Greece and was murdered by her lover before the gods, their holy feet. The tortured lovers meet again in a place by a river where she dreams “his hands/ and a skein of rope.”
Then, we hear the voice of Daughter of the Moon, an early Native woman, whose shadow stretches across shadows, “all that blue.”
I have long been a fan of April Bulmer’s poetry. In it we join April in her ongoing search of the why of her beliefs. Her readers are invited to take part in her journey. And it is a vivid, image-filled and beautiful trip.
As in her previous collections, April’s poems are threaded with vivid and moving imagery.
Reading April Bulmer’s poetry is a rewarding experience. She is a poet and person worth knowing.
Read, enjoy and be moved.
Writer, Teacher and Former TV Host and Producer
For those of us driven by dreams and imagery, where the veil between worlds constantly shifts April’s poetry is a door. Her books sit on my bedside table and her words, the last I read before sleep, conjure the seen and the unseen, while the fuller meaning, images that sail back to her, wash over me like a far-off dream.
Reading Ms. Bulmer’s poetry in And With Thy Spirit is very much like holding an exquisite wood carving in my hand. I marvel at the mind which can craft words like a master carver crafts a work of art. Each fresh look reveals more and more about the artist as well as the subject. I am in awe!
Business Advisor, Employment Services