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Author: Saiba Cassone
Genre: Poetry
Reviewed by Phillip B. Burton

56Romantic poetry, poetry of love and yearning. The best of it struggles with the duality of the presence/absence of the beloved one. Presence is many-splendoured: casual proximity, fond memory, or sexual intercourse. Absence is separation, abandonment, and death. The poet explores all of this and comes to some kind of resolution.

A particular resolution may or may not be comforting to the reader. Tristan/Isolde and Romeo/Juliet are examples of extreme resolution which offers the onlooker no consolation. That is, the poet says: "This is Love. Can it be suffered?" It is easy to casually be "in love" but difficult to actually Love, as the fact of Love is none other than the fact of death. To Love in its fullness is to lose one's life.

Echoes by Saiba Cassone is a worthy attempt to capture the multivalence (indeed, ambivalence) of genuine Love.

I know that nature can be cruel and in this way are her creatures; where I would like to see only beauty are happening frightening things ... ("The Last Goodby")

A false or immature lover would like to bind the beloved object and make it fulfill all desires. But Life does not allow this, at least in the long run. For every ecstasy there is a corresponding hangover. Pleasure and pain are inextricably joined.

So much love, so much love thrown at the wind, trampled, Tortured and finally after killed, buried and transformed in the dust. ("The Dust")

In Echoes Cassone begins the cycle of poems by exploring suffering.

Emptiness will become clear into the time of living; sadness will not be mortal into the time of loving. ("Useless")

In the acceptance of Love, transcendence is possible.

Let me not take, but let me give, and after I cross the desert, love
will Glorify in the infinity .... ("Small Growth") In the heart of
man there is a rose, a thorn; The rose is love, thorn is sorrow,
that together are taking us through the course of this life ....
("Man's Heart")

This collection includes a number of real gems, one of my favorites being "I Begin to Know You":

When you hold me in your arms I take the picture of your eyes and deliberately let it go to the freshness of your purity; and when you hold me more intensely my female nudity flies rapidly and enters in a fascinating world.

Also "With You":

In serenity, the universe seems to be a part of our cells.

The cycle here goes from an initial sadness through the give-and-take of romantic involvement, and through a shock back to anguish and torment. The joy and elation of love dissolve in a trauma:

Only an instant, and an atrocious contusion opened in my heart. ("A Moment")

The final note being:

I wish to die! ("Sadness")

What I enjoy in this poetry is its very complexity, which includes simplicity and lyricism as well as ambiguity.

There are a few weak moments: lines like"when the anatomy/accepts the physical connection" ("Obscurity") seem a little redundant. But overall this collection is to be highly recommended for its fascinating depth and diversity.


April 1, 2000 in Poetry | Permalink


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