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Book Review: The One Who Swears You Can't Start Over
I have her first book - "Caravan."
Crazy with giggles, a knee-high tornado
They are the princes of Baba
skimming a child's cha-cha
Sway, boys, rock the giddy room
I now have her second collection. What a treasure. And what a huge leap since Caravan. The skill is even stronger. More confident. And just as enviable. But, what sets this collection apart is the depth; not that Caravan wasn't deep in places. It most definitely was - but here, we get a glimpse of a life in full measure, cup full or not. No holds barred. It's an exhilarating read - from the hilarious "Why I Lied My Way Through Childhood" to the excruciatingly painful yet powerfully beautiful series of poems on losing her mother to Alzheimer's.
It's difficult not to try and gulp it all down in one sitting. But that's not the best way to truly appreciate Ethna's work. I have a feeling that this second book is about to become just as wine-stained, tear-dampened and dog-eared as the first. Perhaps even more so.
When you press the oars
Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*
Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
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March 4, 2011
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