There’s a storm cloud over head and the winds are picking up as the sky darkens and the clouds thicken. The feeling in the air is more than tense as the thunder and lightening take over the dark night sky. Enter the world of Grace and take the journey through her poetry and words from darkness in the black, to the gray and finally to the sunshine that is now her life. Abuse is wrong and many woman who fall prey to a man who is controlling, cruel and feels the need to overpower another will learn that some women will fight back, stand tall and overcome their fears.
The fear that someone instills in her is frightening and the jealous rage unleashed begins our journey with the first poem titled After the Party. The journey to the sunlight has to begin with the raging fires, darkness and the anger of a man who inflicts pain on a woman. “He towers gigantic over me. A black ten foot demon.” Imagine the image, the fear, and the piercing eyes that pour right into the soul of this poor woman lying defenseless and hoping to escape before he returns. But, he refuses to deny himself as he returns more forceful, fearful and determined to deflate her and demean her as described so vividly in the poem Making Love. The violence he bestows when the act is supposed to be so serene, perfect and soft as she gives him to show her expression of love I wonder what was really going through her tormented mind. The shame that she hides, the bruises he inflicts and the secrets she holds within. But, his anger rages and it gets more intense when you read The Man-Beast followed by The Drive. The demented man and the description of what he does to her are horrific. The pain he inflicts, the escape she hoped to make was blocked by blocked and the words that he uses were more than demoralizing. But, a short respite and would she be safe? Would he stay drunk and not hurt her anymore? Where was the remorse, the sorrow the apologies? What could should she do? Could she appear to his good nature? Did he have one? What would the end result be? The Drive makes the reader shudder as this he threatens to beat her black and blue and leave her somewhere outside. But, would anyone hear her cries? Why didn’t she yell for help? Why did she stay? When she fights back and tries to stand her ground and the police come what would happen? Why didn’t the police stop him? Why did she lose? How can one man be so cruel and why did he use her for a punching bag? The author, the bearer of his anger and the reader, can feel each punch and kick as you take the first step into the darkness where the storm clouds loomed over this woman before the grey skies began to give way to the sun.
Part Two: The Pattern Repeats: As the author shares the amazing births of her two children and her happiness but yet her fears. The children thrive but the monster is never there and hopefully will stay away from them even when they cry. But, her life was not going to change, she walked with her head down, the pain in her heart more than the weight of a heavy ten ton cement truck as she realizes that some things never change. From the verbal abuses to the anger in his voice, to the physical pain this man inflicted on her he showed no mercy as you read My Life. But, what is worse is when he inflicts the same on his precious and defenseless children. As they witness the wrath of their father on their mother they become the victims next as your read The Loft, where he wants to place his daughter at the age of three inside there and leave her alone. Then Into the Shed where he wants to place and beat his son. Keys missing to the shed that could not be found enraged this man when told by his young son. The fear in his heart and the rage that ensues will make you cringe. But, the end result would shock the reader as she puts on a fake smile, façade as the company expected arrives and the rest you can only imagine. Next read The Carpenter as she enters into another relationship with this man but first she realizes her own deterioration, her lack of appearance and the arrogance with which this man carries himself. Thinking that a touch of makeup, a change of clothes and watching him would lure him into thinking she was worth the shot as we continue with Helpless. They share their bodies and souls but does she have his heart? She needs a release to feel beautiful. As we continue with The Affair. Taking it one step future leading into Our Beautiful Perfect Day, which describes the feelings, she creates within herself and her time together with this man. Read My Soul Mate, the Message and finally a quite telling and compelling poem Reality Check to learn what happens when her world is shattered once more. Realizing he is gone and her next step would be to revisit the demon beast and her time to finally escape. Part 3 Time to Find Myself. In each poem you hear her voice, feel her pain and realize the frustration, the anger and despair as she compares her world to the top of a cliff with the strong winds blowing as she finally realizes the “Ecstasy of Escape” and the fact that she will finally soar.
Writing as she states is a great form of release as she pours out the darkness within her soul, rids herself of the storm clouds and finds the meaning of who she is. As she writes you can feel the release within her in each poem, the words expressing that she feared no one and would learn to love herself. Gut, now would she find her way back to the world or prove that she is worth it? Read Leap of Faith and Reunion as the journey continues to the light. But, she needs to push herself more and not go back as you read The Fire Labyrinth, which describes the inner torches, the flames, the dragons and finally the triumphs. Sanctuary: 4 simple liens beginning her final journey into the sun. Starting with Meditation, Evening Satsang and No Fear that allows the reader to know that she is finally on the road to freedom.
Read the poems; hear her voice as she takes the final Step in a Brave New World. Imagine entering a world where there are no tomorrows just todays. No future plans, no grand scheme of things, just time to evaluate, create a life with meaning and hopefully find a new love to touch her heart and make her feel connected to the world and the little people in her life.
She is getting closer to the sun but will she flashback and regress as you read An Empty Place where the voice heard tries to make her feel his pain, his regrets in order to get her back to start the cycle over again. Read pages 56-58 and learn what she does. The Aftermath and Fast-forward are next. Time is the poem that sets the stage for her new life as she finally realizes it is time to heal, leave and look into her soul and realize that she counts. Fast-Forward allows the reader to hear her voice as she now foretells the future. Some days are good and others are more difficult filled with sorrow and pain but she moves on. Trust is hard after all that she endured and even her own decisions and judgments are often questioned.
Two abusive relationships and one woman with a life worth living as she writes to her son expressing her regrets for leaving him to find herself and explaining that she hopes he will eventually forgive her and return her love. This compelling and heartfelt poem can only be appreciated and understood when you read it yourself. Parents often make hard decisions that affect their families. Read what happens when she makes the hardest one of her life. Night describes how she still sees demons and wakes in the night. Read the rest of this section yourself as your read Nothing, A Rage Came Upon Me and finally Stepping into the Sunshine. The first step into finding herself and leaving the dark clouds behind. But, first she flashes back to the past in The Meaning of the Storm, followed by Steps into he Sunshine, and Moving One. You Came Upon Me In A Dream, 4a.m., I Love the Way and the most heartfelt poem to end this collection: My Blessings which says it all. This last poem is so poetic and so musical you can hear the soft music play as she recites the poem to the reader or an audience and the dark clouds leave and the sun shines brightly. The dark clouds leave, the grey give way to the bright sunshine as the author shares her life, her soul in these outstanding poems which vividly describe the life of an abused woman who takes her life back. The torment, the fear, abuses, lies and the betrayals lose as her inner strength wins out and she rise up and is finally Staying in the Sunshine. For anyone that has ever been a victim to any kind of abuse you need to read these poems and they will fill you with the courage and the strength to rise above and escape. Added at the end are resources for victims.
Let’s dedicate this review to: The Winners and Survivors who Escaped.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Fran Lewis can be found on facebook.