Barbara Spring,
Sophia's Lost & Found:
Poems of Above & Below

(PublishAmerica, 2006)

I really, really love this book, and urge you, even if you are not much of a one for poetry, to do yourself a favour and order it today! Sophia's Lost & Found is a rare gem of a poetry book -- sparkling, beautiful and deeply entrancing.

The poet's words wrap around you like a friendly guiding arm, accompanying you on a journey of joy through the wonders and mysteries of nature and spirituality. Her phrasing is rich and lush, while avoiding hyperbole, and after reading the first few poems, you approach each new one in the sure knowledge and delighted anticipation of a gift.

Reading Barbara Spring's poetry is like unwrapping a present and finding it exceeds your highest expectations. Her subject matter, so often focusing on flora, fauna and phenomena -- shifting sands, freezing lakes, autumnal leaves, harvesting walnuts, shy bears, singing whales, sleeping foxes, solemn baboons, spawning fish -- is naturally practical, yet the poems are imbued with such understanding and appreciation of the Earth's nature that you shiver during "Lake Michigan Ice," bask in the warmth felt by "King Snake" and smell the charged air "Before the Storm." Sophia's patient wisdom and store of treasures is referred to throughout the book and there are some delightful poems for her friends or family -- the breathless fantasy vignette of "Austin Reads," the charm of a child's adventure in "Sienna's Freckles" and the precious bonding of the twins in "Harmonics."

Barbara's dedicated poems retain the quality of her other work, neatly sidestepping the cloying cloud of emotional entangled effort that frequently forms a miasma around such poems. The spiritual poetry within the volume includes shamanism, Christianity, the balance of Yin and Yang within Earth and includes mythical manifestations such as faeries and unicorns. There is the feeling of an acceptance that, spectacular though the world is, there is much more worthy of awe hidden from the casual observer. The poetry is, I feel, made so refreshing for the soul because underlying the poetic descriptions of Petra or Paris, Lake Michigan or the Grand Canyon, is the acknowledgment of a truly wondrous, abiding, all-encompassing force. Sophia's Lost & Found is organic word food for the soul starving for such nourishment, and for me, "Marram Grass," "Calling the Whales" and "Sacred Dancer" in their entirety are the highpoints of a self-renewing feast!

Here are some appetizers.

From "Total Lunar Eclipse" -- "The ruddy moon returns -- / swaggers into sight / the color of whiskey / from some unknown tavern."

From "Lake Michigan Ice" -- "Curled green walls of glassy jade / smash on pack ice wave on wave / tremble out high icy plumes / fans of white peacock / collapse, resume."

From "Twilight" -- "Soon Venus blazes in an indigo sky / and leaves her silver footsteps / in the still lake below. / I'm pierced / through with beauty."

by Jenny Ivor
21 October 2006

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