Your parents brought you into this world through an act of love, of sharing bodies and desire to create life. They become your designated tour guides to life, a map of endless opportunities waiting to be discovered. But what if there’s no one waiting for you with a sign at the airport when you step off the plane? What if they already jumped ship or went on ahead? Who will guide you through the unknown? Life is regrettably unfair dear reader, raw, ugly, sometimes beautiful and fun, but for the most part an unpredictable equivocator.
Today I am the last stop the blog tour for The Sea Refuses No River (Published 21 Jun.2019) By Bethany Rivers. A big thank you to the publishers, Fly On The Wall Poetry for my copy to review, always appreciated. And as always to the lovely Anne for the invite, thank you. Let’s dive in, shall we?
About The Author
Bethany Rivers (M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University) is a poet and author based in Shrewsbury, who has taught creative writing for over eleven years and mentored and coached many writers from the start of their writing project through to publication.
The Sea Refuses No River
The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it’s like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life
In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journeys. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck’, and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, ‘The words are purposes. The words are maps.’
It is common law that in a crisis, especially in England, a cup of tea can put the world to rights. It gives us that comfort, that hug that we need when we feel at our lowest. Drink it too quick and you risk burning your tongue but it’s worth it for that sweet warming taste that eases the damage and tells us, “It will be alright in the end, you’ll see.” This is exactly what The Sea Refuses No River embraces to the reader. These poems are dedicated to anyone who has lost a parent in their childhood.
An ocean of emotions I was overwhelmed by stormy weather and murky waters. But Rivers safely guides you home, to that welcoming sight of a lighthouse upon the shore. You let out a high sigh, you have ventured across uncharted territory and found inner peace. You lost your way but somehow managed to sail back on course with an understanding that life is a series of rivers that all follow a different path. In the end we all meet up again as we all fly under the same flag, the same sea. It’s powerful, exquisite poetry and I loved every second of it.
I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to lose a parent, I have only unfortunately experienced it second-hand with my father-in-law and that cut deep. The pain and emptiness that consumes you, makes you feel alone. When I read At my father’s grave I felt a sense of hope that there is a small possibility of an afterlife. That even after the ones we love are gone, they are still somehow with us. Voices and gentle reminders that although they are gone, they will continue to live on in our memory and appear when we least expect it.
I’m not really in the coffin, you know.
Then, really, where are you?
Look, behind the stone.
I shuffle forwards and look down.
above the frosted ground.
There was a great sadness of the reality of losing a parent. Unanswered questions that you never got the chance to ask. We don’t think about these little things until it’s too late, we get too tangled up in the mundane ways of life. When I read It’s not about the broccoli I felt the hot stab of suffering that one must feel when they realise they will never again get to ask their parent a question. The empty silence that suffocates the room and as the title suggests, It’s not about the broccoli but the absent input from your parent. Rivers writes with intense raw emotional that leaves you teary eyed and broken but gives you hope to rebuild.
I never saw you cut broccoli. I didn’t know
what you did with the main thick stem. I don’t
know if you ever called them fairy trees.
Or how small or how tall you’d cut them.
I don’t even know if you liked broccoli,
or whether your body needed the alkaline,
I give The Sea Refuses No River By Bethany Rivers a Four out of Five paw rating.
This book reminded me of the long haired surfers you see tackling the waves at the beach. They go further and further out, tempting the bigger waves and if they get hit they simply get back up and try again. They are sometimes alone or in groups but they never quit and they keep going, no matter the odds. Rivers tackles the waves head on, overcoming her fears and fights to reach the surface when the salt water fills her lungs. She refuses to give in and is revived each time she comes up for air, giving the onlookers on the beach that courage to dip their toe in.
Brave, honest and tangible. A refusing tonic to add to any bookshelf that leaves you with sensual aftertaste.
It has been a wonderful blog tour. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers posts. Enjoy!
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