Poetry of Beautiful Abandon

Lynch Serves Up Flavorful Verses

Good poetry provides everything “…we need: mouth, / anus and blind heart / slugging away steadily / in its cage,” but exemplary poems fuse the elements fantastic: metamorphosis, unnatural abilities of omnipotence and the capacity to travel along timelines much like Dr. Who. Published in 2019 through Blue Light Press, Kathleen Lynch’s Lucky Witness deposits readers into the frame of a child, grandmother, coal miner as well as several other characters. Lynch’s work successfully creates empathy in the hearts her readers and stirs up such strong emotions so that the ensuing waves rock the readers’ bones and leave them trembling. They have no choice but to truly experience the work down to a cellular level.

The verses hiss, cajole, mewl and cry as often as they laugh and sing. These poems were constructed so they could catch the readers unawares when they “..spat, / Wake to this“. Poetry which envelopes the senses like a full-bodied tea is the ideal when compiling a collection. Lynch is certainly serving up such a tantalizing brew in Lucky Witness.

Throughout the text, Lynch pours out that poignant sense of loss when a human realizes that they have died a thousand times. Their past lives as babe, child, pre-teen are “…”gone” yet achingly present.” She plays with this theme, sending it scurrying away at times but then always calling it back to pinch her readers just when they begin to fool themselves into thinking that the “…heaviness of houses / means nothing to them.”

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But there is a kind of bleak joy shivering among the line breaks and the ignored margins of her work. To those individuals who cry out in dismay, “Look how dry / the world is. You say / Oh when will this ever end?” Lynch’s magnificent poetry replies with a beautiful voice of fatalistic abandon:

We collapsed

on the lawn breathless, the earth

cool beneath us & pounding hard

as if it had one great heart.

As if it was ours.

Lynch does not shy away from death or the plain and simple fact that humans are animals “born to be / eaten and killed, killed and eaten, / like all the others.” She acknowledges that everything must come to an end but is in love with the here and now. With death embraced so tightly as if it were a friend, her poems “…flap and flutter…” at once free and chained because “….deep things are never that simple…” Life is but tragic love affair with no happy ending, only blissful moments.

Lynch is one of those poets who could seemingly “…spit this passage of metaphor out of my mouth” without hours of churning it over and over. She brews mood, steeps sounds and stirs the subconscious. In a tone that conjures not only images but music to mind, Lynch whispers, “And the weary human / at the window shapes up distinct, / a survivor, lucky witness / to the calling up of light.”

Lovers of poetry can be such lucky witnesses themselves by adding Lynch’s work to their collection. Those interested in further immersion into Lynch’s poetic world can also obtain her earlier work, Hinge, which was published in 2006 and won the Black Zinnias Press national poetry award.

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