The Quickening - Copyright© Lynn Strongin

The Quickening - Copyright© Lynn Strongin

The Quickening - Copyright© Lynn Strongin

There is a grand sagacity rising from Lynn Strongin's The Quickening; the wisdom of the ancient faith of the Hebraic People, Christians, and, her small flirting with existentialism.

Amazon USA      

The Quickening - Copyright© Lynn Strongin
ISBN: 978-93-86653-35-2

The photograph of girl up front of the book is by Pierre Bonnard.

First Edition: 2017
$15

Cyberwit.net

Review by Mary Barnet

There is a grand sagacity rising from Lynn Strongin's The Quickening; the wisdom of the ancient faith of the Hebraic People, Christians, and, her small flirting with existentialism.

Firstly from Judaism :

You love Chagall.

He gets free: he climbs out of the house-hut onto the roof with his zany fiddler the colors run. I am riding a train into eastern

Europe, nerved, erect if damaged spine.
Twice alive, I catch sparks in my hand at the Modern Art Museum
I push the angular body of the tiny Jewish genius
Born on the wrong side of the tracks in Poland
Where cows drift over the moon  women are shawled in memories

Strongin is not preaching, merely sharing a view that pre-dates all literature and modern faiths, that there is a gravity about the passing of time, worth granting its dignity.

She makes mention in several poems of life-long illness :

Living with a heart condition means scant rest:

respite? Some.

As in the life of the sea, there is fear, confusion, age, beauty, hope, and denial of death.

Fox prints warn “Beware!”

I COULD NOT FIND a long enough lead time
To tell you about the sculptor.
Age whipped winds around her face
Second-teaching me
Light, love & light
In addition to wind
Re-sculpts them.?
                      Tall dark spire of the sea
In which today no bell tolls.

This is life and a reference, repeated elsewhere, to the sea.

 As Hemingway says : “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”….Like many of Hemingway’s heroes she is lost and we must beware. Think of the hero in The Old Man and The Sea.

Then


Torque. The tenderness
The fire oven of July sun:

 

Here and else where I see echoes of Camus : tension, fire oven… sun.

And then :

No birth without blood but his death, though from the blood,

Was colorless, pale.
Boxes of coffee: water towers: wallpaper museums:L button collections
Are in my list to things to taste delicious as jam:
I take the leftover rouge ham
Spread it on his thin lips in a perfect cupid bow

Her constant mentions of the Spire rising out of the sea seems to be a reference of Christianity to Life ? This she definitely has as her church, her personal expression of her Faith.

the needle was guided into my spinal column,…brought home to me spires, the spires chiming.

And :

 

How climb a spire of water
Winding round & round
Like Watts’ Towers In the barrios, L.A.
Suddenly the sun and moon turn eerie orange

Then to China and again :

HOW CAN THE OCEAN

spire
Like rows of printed ink
First Every schoolboy knows that Gutenberg revolutionized the printed world
by grinding bones
inventing the printing press Yet Chinese ink for woodblock paintings was used far earlier.

Then, pre-Christian references such as this one :

ASH BLOWS

in the face & fate of my shalom

And in the same poem references to the moon :

Particles darken the sun.

Our moon?
Fir tree shaped waves leap & point to it like holiness, like hazard.

 

A lunar view of death, Judaism leading to the existential :

 

Help will come
When the cough ceases
Like shaking a silk tent down over unspeakable deathlike wounds.

And, again ”like holiness, like hazard.”

 

Lyn Strongin ends resuming where she left off, after several poems which talked of overcoming life long illness :

 

I must write with a pen of pearl.

Post coronary sadness
Floats like bluegrey fog thru the street of Rotterdam
Draws cobble streets with clip clop horses & Rembrandt gauze Combined with Van Gogh’s iris.
His blindingly bright sky of Saint Remy.
Malignant depression,
Father, what do you do for it?

It seems her faith wins out. But “The doctor was coming.”

Waking to a bouquet of coughs,

I bow
To the god of circumstance
And sprout wings to the Lord.

Then the last word of this wonderful book of a woman who like all of us grapples with Faith and Death :

From loss to lonely climb

From birth to what would be her end: but she’d been shot down, elegant exquisite falcon
Flying higher than the gods could deem.

I think that you will find that reading this book will help you understand both yourself and all mankind ! Pleases read Quickening by Lynn Strongin ! You will enjoy the read and benefit from it as well !

By Mary Barnet

86 Sonnets for the 21st Century (Casa de Snapdragon, 2015) ; The New American : Selected Poems (Cyberwit, 2006) ; Arrival (Casa de Snapdragon)
Editor-in-Chief for 20 years of PoetryMagazine.com

Copyright 2017, Mary Barnet
All Rights Reserved.