THE CANOPY, by Patricia Clark

Reviewed by Nina Bennett


(Terrapin Books, 2017)

The Canopy deals with death, loss, and grief, yet always there is a reminder of rebirth and continued life. These are quiet, reflective poems, with nature serving as a backdrop for grief. Actually, something much larger than backdrop; nature is the container in which we mourn and celebrate.

There is a prologue poem, “Knives on the Irish Air,” which sets the scene:

The cry, though, came again, forming
around a name, my sister’s name,
then gone.

Clark reminds us that grief is unpredictable and out of our control, that for many people, the way through mourning is to accept it by “letting the knife settle where it will, / blade nestled between a rib and a rib.” Ribs protect our heart, lungs, and stomach from physical injury, but the knife of grief slides between them and pierces us at the core of our being.

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