Review:

Autumn Dance
Doris Sharp's latest collection of poetry begins 'In those secure summers , [...] I played/ Held in the green arms of my island' (p.9) and ends with the words 'Only anticipation of Spring' (67).
In many ways, these poetic phrases symbolise the spiritual essence which flows through the pages of this work, and perhaps Sharp's life.
The expression that all things past, present and future—reality, dreams and the inevitable injustice of time - will find a place, to heal or regenerate, is integral to this poetry. 'True enough, leaves fall,/ Winds hold chill investment,/ [...]/ In Winter though, [I] 'read no icy finale' (p.67).
Although Sharp articulates many reasons to give up the struggle of life, she never does. In fact she rages with all her strength against the inevitable outcomes of time passing: 'Is this it then,/ the coda of my life's seasons,'/[...]'/ [...]/ 'I have no fear/ Preparing me zealous for my rejuvenation,' (p.53).
As always Spring once more is just around the corner, and Sharp will again '[...] call this moon [her] own' (p.12).
But let's return to the early days, to the source and foundation of Sharp's work.
My people used to laugh and sing
[...]
in the houses,
In the churches,
Loud hosannas to life,
[...]
My parents and friends
Would throw back their heads (p.13)
.

There is Sharp, once again with her family and community, as a child in their '[...]delicious tears [...]' 'Catching the happy infection' (p.13). But, as always, happiness is like a two-edged sword that quickly cuts to pain - '[...] war tears more than landscapes apart' (p.9) as 'Dominating boots came to tread our land,/ [...]/ And we knew [...]/ That the clear innocence/ [...]/ Could never be recaptured' (p.11).
These aching lines hold the heartbreaking experiences of all victims of conflict, civil or international. Of victims who had no say in the degradation of their existence and dislocation. Sharp does however return to this sad memory once more, holding her father's hand.

Ferns now grow lush around it.
Father encouraged their camouflage.
Better that the well in our garden
Be allowed to keep its secrets. (P.11)

Sometimes it is wiser to keep absolute truth somewhat hidden from those whose innocence was corrupted before it should have been. For if there is no veneer of love between the smiling child and the age old equation of corruption we will see more and more kids on the street '[...]Barely seventeen years young/Yet old as Babylon' (p39).
Sharp does exist out there somewhere in the memory of her past, and rightly so; for it is that place of memories which translates poetically towards the eternal promise of the future.
As Sharp walks the new streets of her life, more fundamental observations are made on the nature of belief, spirituality and the way this world is heading.
As Sharp states in her poem So Many Gurus: 'No one in truth/ Knows the how and why of anything./ But oh, the power and gain/ Of those who pretend'.
In Autumn Dance Sharp never pretends. Her poems are an invitation to the dance of life.

Peter D'Angelo