Eden Was Always Here

We Are Only Now Losing The Garden

eden turns poetry on its head. Literally. Poet Liv Chalmers ends all the poems in her 2019 publication with their titles. A bit of a surprise at first, this reconfiguration is actually a simple yet skillful trick. Without the barrier of a title preceding each piece, the readers can slide right into them – one after another as if each poem were a wave, gently lifting them each time the one before ceases its undulations.

Chalmers has dedicated her poetry to the preservation of the earth much like fellow poets, Anne-Adele Wight and Catherine Kyle. Her tone throughout the work though, is far less cynical than Kyle’s. She doesn’t write from a place of exhausted anger, but rather a deep sadness. “love the trees, feed the bees, / write about the blue of the seas,” her work cries out. Her method of persuasion is to remind her fellow humans of their home planet’s beauty all throughout her work before reaching the section entitled “terminus.”

While it is true that Chalmers writes in a far more lighter voice than both the previously mentioned poets, a fascination with death does run throughout the work. Chalmers recognizes the balance between life and death. Upon entry of “terminus”, Chalmers pulls back the curtain to reveal a dying planet gasping from years of pollution and deforestation. She wants readers to know that, “you / are part of the process / of death.” Humankind has removed itself from the natural order of things and therefore has been engaged in an ecological massacre for many years.

She warns that humans are not exempt from the repercussions.

and what happens
to the bees when the
pollen they seek suddenly
recedes, coats our hands
instead of their tongues?

In “power to the bees,” she makes it very clear that humans cannot escape retribution for long. If action is not taken quickly to preserve the honey bees and the bees reach the point where they “…no longer breathe, / no longer live…” “they take us, / and all that breathes, / with them.”

Chalmers writes with such fluid motion that readers will drift along the lines of her poetry, deep into her gardens and oceans. eden is written with great purpose and will no doubt be an excellent read for romanticists and all lovers of nature.

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