Book of Pain and Nature

When I Think On Your Lives

June 26th, 2011 by Rose DeShaw

She’s been on welfare. Tara says that right up front in an interview on youtube. Titles of the work in her new book give you some idea of what she’s been through: Past Hope, Sadness, I Didn’t Count On This, Hunger, Love Is Like Death, This Yearning, There’s A Funeral Here Today, Collateral Damage, Misreadings, Self-Doubt, At The Welfare Office, But I’m Hungry. Plus Denial and A Lunatics Love Song. Those are just the obvious ones.

And yet she is constantly surprised by nature; that it exists at all. She doesn’t expect it will be there for her: “I didn’t count on this/a riot of colour in the rain red leaves”, “Otherworldly light/spills across the sea, the sky/unearthly, faery, godly/gossamer light.”
A disclaimer. Tara is one of my heroes. This gentle glowing tough woman who has plowed her way through more mountains than the rockies ever had, stood her ground while trouble rained on all sides and now produces a book so like herself in its tenderness and unshakeable faith in what should be, what ought to be and how it can be told.

For, ‘A Single Seed,’ alone she deserves nomination for some kind of award within the community of poets. I read it aloud to my husband the critical and seldom impressed philosopher and he said, ‘OH WOW SHE’S GOOD!” The opening stanza’s begin in the garden where she suddenly marvels that she is here on this planet, living this life and then she begins to sum up:

I am
a middle-aged woman
of the 21st century. Three
children, three jobs, alone
in a rented apartment, an image
in the mirror I don’t recognize.
What convergence of forces
 rooted me here? Which corner
should I have turned, thought,
 suppressed, action taken, lover

You can purchase it online or at the Novel Idea in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Let her know what you think once you’ve absorbed it, eh?

- Rose DeShaw