Memory Rituals: An Army of Suns
“Genius… is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one.”
~ Ezra Pound
Carolyn Srygley-Moore is certainly no ordinary man, but an extraordinary woman turning the indecipherable wound of living into a warm ache of healing. A natural eclecticist, in one ordinary moment she gathers and embraces so many things to form a poem. She has seemingly immeasurable resources and a consistent ability to fulfill one of Pound’s other imperatives…Make it New! She sees beyond and behind, gives new relevance to the past, linking it to a new context of experience and transforming it into something present and re-understood.
It is movement which is central to Srygley-Moore’s work. From the very first poem
I have moved often. I have ridden ambulances
for I have moved often, I have been moved
often, I have moved
between extreme states of being
stating only, as the artery pulsed, I am here
These are poems of acceptance, forgiveness, love and becoming, yet certainly not a cosy palliative; rather the abrogation of willful suffering in favour of a joyful enduring which is not afraid of its terrible confessions.
Coils of orange, gash, afterbirth, gash // tragedy yet
so distant was I from feeling I was only repulsed, amazed.
Yes I remember fear.
(Sketched Bats Unveiled beneath Ancient Brush Strokes, p9)
While poetry is an end in itself, there seems to be a purpose for Srygley-Moore.
The aim is to be gently happy
like the space held between oneself & a tree
that once held the treehouse of one’s youth.
(The Tree, the Treehouse, & the Riddle of Night, p25)
We are on a transformative journey from the past where each moment is one of reconciliation, a balance of the solids and the spaces wherein it is possible to be ‘gently happy’, nothing more. While Srygley-Moore is living her way to such an outcome she is also creating it through poetry, discovering herself and unraveling her confusion sometimes to her own enlightenment as well as ours.
To annotate her poems through review seems superfluous. These poems must be counted as an experience; something lived rather than something deconstructed. One must wander the white space, gather the strands around themselves like a maypole, for the colours…the blues, the yellows, the oranges, the golds, the reds…they are all there; ribbons in the collage of these masterpieces.
‘This is a kind of love poem’, says Srygley-Moore in the final poem ‘Once Upon a Time I Was a Sleepwalker’, and in many ways all her poems are love poems. One would not like to assert that she has found some kind of redemption in love, but in finding love she entered yet another phase in her process of becoming, an essential phase; one which she may not have made it without, despite the strength in her struggle:
Paper thin walls of green
remarked the underground wherein I desired existence,
but it would not be so, for I fell in love,
hard. His buttocks were pale in the moonlight.
In the lunar landscape I will remain
the vertebrae of a tree.
(In the Lunar Landscape, p41)
This collection is almost part of a perpetual birth as one can imagine Carolyn Srygley-Moore awakening each day with yet another vista of her experience to transform into the beautiful perspective that is her poetry. It is a journey of days, ordinary days in the hands of an extraordinary talent. Memory Rituals is a stunning, uplifting book with no hint of self-service and no moment to sink with the sometimes tragic events of a life lived…
the rage will be your wings
(Anger//For Gail, p38)
Buy this book and delve into its creamy yellow pages. It has been written and constructed with love and you will be compelled to read it so.