Friday, August 14, 2020

Body My House

Today I read Body My House, by Bethany Reid (Goldfish Press, 2018), for the #SealeyChallenge, Day 14. "Body my house" comes from the poet May Swenson, and Swenson snippets open each section of Reid's book, which is a celebration of the body, down to its aches and pains, and of the soul and heart, too! In "The Body Stands Waiting," "The body / like a housewife opens its blinds / to let in the light."

Lots of animals and their bodies in here, too: horses, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, a pretty scary parrot, other birds, even the green of an iguana. I was delighted to discover that some of the proceeds from this book go to a goat sanctuary, and that such a thing even exists!

I love "Her Desk," that unfolds for us the poet's connection to her desk's previous owner: "maybe, she, too, was hard to love, / craved quiet more // than husband and children." I connect, too, always craving quiet, though not, these days, more than husband and children...

Part 2, Take Heart, is one long, sectioned poem, riffing on the heart, as in "her heart / is a room full of old books." Again, I connect! Or, "Her heart unfolds, a blue heron..." in a section that continues until:

                                  Take wing,
          she whispers, a peculiar
                    incantation of the verb---

          as if she had said, Take heart.

Part 3 is Living in Books. Again, yep! I connect. I laughed out loud at the epigraph to the poem "When Poems Sit Vacant," which is:

          When poems sit vacant for a long time,
          they can attract squatters.
--real-estate story misheard on KUOW      

I know from just reading If It Bleeds, particularly the last novella, Rat, that Stephen King would connect with the poem titled "If Plot Is What Happens" and continues "then what about those long, still moments / when nothing happens?" Good question!

There's another good question in "Her Heart, Her Soul," the last poem, that starts by giving a list of things of this world (colors, animals, a "bright feather") and then asks, "What if the soul 

          is no more than these? Less--
          the colors of sunset

          reflected in water, foam
          on a horse's lip after a gallop.
          Vestigial, intransigent.

Well, I leave it to you.

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1 comment:

Lorel Janiszewski said...

Sounds wonderful, Kathleen! And I love the pix of the goat!