Review by Colin Stewart Jones
Be still, and know that I am God. (Ps 46:10)
Mortality is a favourite subject of classical poetry. Writers exist within the temporal and are very much aware of this aspect of the human condition. It is highly unusual to find a collection of haiku which predominantly deals with this subject but Marisova knew she may die from her tumour and this advance notice, if you will, seems to have given her greater focus and lust for the moment.
Marisova trained as a nun and her faith, spirituality and doubts run throughout this collection. If the title, an excerpt from Psalm 46, suggests anything apart from the spiritual aspect, “do not worry and trust”, it is that we should take each moment, savour it and learn from it. Of the two poets, I see Marisova as the better poet and van Zutphen as her encourager.
Faith is a funny thing—it is like a muscle built by testing doubts. In the poem below we see a person praising God even through the shadow of death. And yet there is still doubt:
up stretched arms . . .
the winter cloud
As one would expect from with religious training is a predominance of religious symbolism that runs throughout Marisova’s poetry.
spring awakening –
the sound of water
in the mist
Spring speaks of new life and awakening of a fresh infilling of the Spirit. Water and even mist are also symbolic of the Holy Spirit in biblical texts. Van Zutphen also uses this imagery when he writes the following encouragement:
below the ice . . .
I do not often pick a favourite poem from a collection but I found the following by Marisova to be exceptional for its multiple readings:
rose petals –
Death; marriage; communion; menstruation; fertility; blood tests; it is all in there—and in only ten syllables.
There are many good, even great, poems in this collection but I do feel that emotion has influenced some of the reviews. Marisova’s talent was sadly cut short and she may have become a great poet. Though she did not write haiku for long she was certainly no novice but she was not yet a master either. Recommended!
- Colin Stewart Jones (Notes from the Gean 4:1)