Tiger Heron by Robin Becker

tiger heronSeries: Pitt Poetry Series
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (January 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0822962985
ISBN-13: 978-0822962984
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Review by: g emil reutter
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Intimate relationships, growing old, the independence of her parents at 80 in weathering a storm for fear of being placed in assisted living. How nice the word hospice sounds in the language when actually a word for no hope of giving up of dying. Her father’s love of the track although a loneliness hovered over him.  Becker has developed a collection of poems that offer a realistic view of life, living and dying in a compassionate voice that is calming as you page through the poems in Tiger Heron. Becker accomplishes this with startling images, such as these from the poem Hospice:
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I wanted to believe in it, the word
softer than hospital but still not home—
.
like any other frame house on the street,
it had a lawn, a door, a bell—
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inside, our friend lay, a view
of the garden from her bed. But no lift
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to raise her from the bed. A sword,
the sun plunged across the cotton blankets.
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Becker describes the loss of hope surrounded by life, a view of the garden, but no lift to raise her as the sun, a life force, plunged across the cotton blankets like a sword.
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She tells us in Montefiore Cemetery:
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Although the dying don’t want to talk much,
the dead have all the time in the world.
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However, a vast difference has replaced
our old relations. Emporium of headstones!
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Since when do you leave old antipathies
Mid-sentence? Choose silence over bickering?
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Becker remembers those who are no longer with her, Bubbe, her father bristling. At the end of the poem she leaves us:
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Silence, Montefiore nods, is the restraint of wisdom.
No tongue speaks as much ill as one’s own.
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Not all is gloomy here in Tiger Heron as the first two stanzas of Holiday reveal:
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We slept and woke to the sound of rhythmic surf.
Across the room, my friend lay with her book;
I listened to the spacious hour, its humane breath
on the room, grown large with distant water.
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In that monastic calm we took ourselves
Lightly, rose and ate, walked the half moon
Beach and indulged our ankles with bracelets
Of kelp. Underwater, the day kept flut-
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Robin Becker writes of the daily challenges of midlife and those at the end of life with a sobering realism that always flickers with hope, obtainable or not.
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You can find the book here:
g emil reutter 2– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA)  http://gereutter.wordpress.com/

One response to “Tiger Heron by Robin Becker

  1. I love her work. Didn’t know she had a new book out–thanks for this review!

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