Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. It takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility. – William Wordsworth
I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever been a poetry kind of guy. Like anything else I consume…food, books, entertainment…I go thru various moods, bouncing from one thing to another as fancy strikes, but there are certain constants to which I always return, and poetry has never been one of those things for me. Having said that, I do occasionally dabble, atleast as a reader. And now I may be inspired to actually write poetry thanks to my friend Jennifer.
My college years remain, in my heart & soul, the best years of my life, and though I haven’t seen most of them in a couple of decades social media has allowed me to remain “friends” with many of those that were a part of my circle back then. One such person is Jennifer Saunders, who recently published a book of poetry called Invisible Tattoo. I am fortunate enough to have a job that requires my presence but little else, meaning that I spend my time there reading books & watching television. So on a quiet Friday night I decided to splurge on the $3 download and check out Jennifer’s book.
Aristotle called poetry “something more philosophical and of graver import than history”, while Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg defined it as “the synthesis of hyacinths & biscuits”. I think poetry means something different to everyone, and Invisible Tattoo is an intensely personal look into the author’s life & psyche. Knowing a bit about her journey made reading the book a little more…accessible…to me, but really many of the things she writes about are universal ideas to which everyone can relate. She explains the title of the book as alluding to “the impressions that experiences created on the inside”, which makes such beautiful sense. A cynic might more ominously describe the marks that life leaves us with as scars, but Jennifer isn’t misanthropic like that, which is part of her charm.
The poems that I connected with the most in the book are a set of about eight allusions to life in general. Butterfly uses one of nature’s loveliest creatures as an allegory for the ups & downs of life. The book’s titular poem talks about feeling stuck and, as I mentioned (because, in contrast to the author, I am a little nihilistic) the scars of life. By Myself speaks of the melancholy need for peace amidst chaos. The austerely titled Life is about confusion and dreams vs. reality. Mistake alludes to the bad decisions that reside in us all. Old vs. New compares the evolution of a small town to the transitions that we all go through. Syncopation of Life is an observation about busyness, the hustle & bustle of daily living. And finally, What Was Once Before Is Not Anymore is about change, the yin & yang of life.
A couple of poems are about growth. Caught talks about growing older, while Identity Lost uses the symbolism of a little girl’s love for ballet to talk about growing up, facing reality, and the idea that dreams may fade away but they rarely die.
Romance is in the air with Dark Horse, which speaks about meeting up with a lover, and Hide & Seek, centering on a dreamy kiss in a dark tunnel.
How Do I Know God Is Real? answers its own question and makes total sense.
Lucille, a dream about reuniting with a dead loved one at a church revival, and My Nana, in which the author remembers her late grandmother, are delicately lovely insights into the soul of a person whose family is a huge & important part of her.
Ray Bradbury would be proud of a set of poems that recognize the majesty of nature & space. Magic focuses on the awe inspiring moon, while Moon Walk speaks of its comforting peace. Midnight Storm sees a warm summer day turn into a dark, powerful, & beautiful tempest. Night gently expresses the feeling of drifting off to sleep on a quiet summer night. Spring is aptly titled and an appropriately charming depiction. Summer Blessing is about a pleasant summer day in the backyard. Sunrise is another self-explanatory & fittingly titled slice of life, while Sunset Over the Ohio River is a little more specific and elicited warm memories for me.
New Day compares people to books, and as a bibliophile who, as my friend The Owl says, “lives in a library”, I really enjoyed the comparison. The Book fits into the same category, as does the simply titled Words.
Soul Landscape contrasts darkness & light, while Self-Consumed speaks about selfishness and the need for companionship.
There are many other poems in Invisible Tattoo…these are just the ones that happen to resonate with me. I would encourage anyone looking for a quick, enjoyable read to hop on Amazon and either order a hard copy or download it onto your e-reading device. I hope Jennifer continues to write, whether that means more poetry or any other direction in which she is led to go.