Poetry chapbook, 42 pages, $7 cover price
($5 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)
This Limited Edition chapbook is part of Main Street Rag’s Author’s Choice Chapbook Series.
About The Author
Kathie Collins is a writer and associate editor for The BibleWorkbench, a lectionary based group resource that explores sacred scripture from the perspectives of history, culture, and depth psychology. She holds an M.A. in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute where she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. Collins is also a certified yoga teacher, women’s retreat leader, wife, and mother of five children. Her family also includes two dogs that lovingly guard the household soul. Collins loves classical guitar, all things Irish, and dream work. Indeed, she delights in discovering the archetypal symbols in dreams that are woven into her own waking life and that connect her to the mythological motifs and stories that undergird all of human experience.
Recommended for publication by Irene Blair Honeycutt:
Jubilee announces Kathie Collins’ debut as a poet. In poems that embrace mythological and Biblical themes and archetypes, her fresh voice spans generations with a clarity that shines and sings. As if with a bow to the late poet John O’Donohue, she writes “A Blessing for Self-Discovery”: “May you walk the dark streets/on which your banished inner harlot works/and find her sauntering/…and know her, for the first time,/as Aphrodite./… May you waltz the asylum aisles,/calling…for the idiot you have written off.” Stunningly measured in its eloquence, “I Saw Three Ships” juxtaposes the pain of betrayal against the backdrop of beauty: three seals—“sleek dark magi”—playing on the pier on an icy Christmas morning. “Like aged Sarah/eavesdropping at the flaps of her tent,” the narrator is “reluctant even to sigh….” The jubilee of which Collins writes comes only when one braves the darkness with hope. Bravo!
Stick by perfect
stick, I’ve built
a cage around my
Hard work has made it
a sight to behold–
Gilded domes and opulent
gardens with enchanting
leading everywhere and
High on my perch,
I reflect on glory
Some say I am wise
beyond my years.
They come seeking
blessing or advice.
Some desire the seed
that has nurtured my delicate
I would gladly sing to them
the sad lament of heartbreak and
of the requisite six months
with the shades,
of the first sight of the rising sun
after that long, bitter night.
And if I could,
I would also sing
the song the angels whispered
into my newborn ears,
my one and only song of songs–
the song I lost so long ago,
so very long ago
the day I lost my song.
Meanwhile the freebirds,
those decadent fools,
with beds unmade and
gardens rife with weeds,
soar and swoop
and call to each other
from lily-covered fields
and lofty green pines:
CHASING THE LIGHT AROUND THE HOUSE
As dark night lifts the edges of her skirts,
the first tendrils of dawn beckon me
to rise, to climb a faster pace
from the dreamy depths
that have enveloped me
so many hours,
so many lifetimes–
to leave behind the shades
of souls who populate
those other worlds
in which I dance and cry
and swim and fly.
Dawn warns me not to turn around.
Tries to draw me through a web
of morning mist spun from Lethe’s
waters, that I might forget
my lover’s warm embrace.
But I, like Orpheus realizing the trick
too late, turn to find my lover gone,
absorbed like Eurydice into the nothingness
that evades me all day long
as I chase the light around the house,
searching every dark corner
for traces of my soul.
WHEN I DREAM OF MY FATHER
I see his hands first–strong, stout
fingers extending from fair, freckled
backs, cuticles darkened by furniture
stain, and a deep diagonal scar
crossing the left index digit he nearly
lost to the band saw.
He sits motionless
except for the rhythmic rotating
of wrists, the curling and unfurling
of fingers, movements that ease
arthritic stiffness accumulated
in his joints by a lifetime of work
he never loved,
work handed down
by his father, along with
planers and power saws, chisels
and clamps that fill his carpenter’s
life-a life he never wanted, a life
too small to house a soul that longed
Reflected in his far away eyes,
I see images of the life he never lived–
sun-gilded gliders and his own hands gliding
down the neck of a classical guitar,
the freedom of air and music
a counter for the heaviness
of a world that entraps him like Merlin
inside the hazel wood.
And am I, as my mother says, just like him?
When I practice my scales and arpeggios
are the hands I see mine or his,
swollen and knotted as they are.
And when my son turns up the amp
in his bedroom, does he play for himself,
for me, or for the ghost of his grandfather?