Hyacinths from the Wreckage by Madeleine Beckman – Weaving flowers from loss

Hyacinths from the WreckageHyacinths from the Wreckage by Madeleine Beckman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In her latest collection, Madeleine Beckman weaves loss, memory, and quiet passion into poems that speak with clarity and simple eloquence:

Now many deaths and miles away
we’re still those girls, half-naked
under the sprinkler in summer
waiting for the Good Humor man.

This is a nostalgia that wants to remember but not to stop living today in order to return to some past.

The first section deals with the loss of her parents and by extension of her childhood. The second with the loss of past love. The third collects poems of place, foreign visits that come alive again in the memory of the words, but still occasionally ache that the moments and places are past as soon as they are written. The final section brings an extended coda to the collection and the theme of leaving place and person behind in the “wreckage” that remains as we live and experience our lives.

pleasure was over
laughter a word
in a dictionary
he no longer read

It is a beautiful wreckage Beckman makes, weaving flowers from it all. “Who wouldn’t pray for clouded vision?” she asks. We are lucky her vision is so clear as she weaves flowers from loss:

her fingers tied those tiny knots from stems
light as butterflies fluttering
leaving messages few hear.

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