I pre-ordered Harmony Kent’s book in November 2022. The image of a Calla Lilly, in the lightest shade of olive green on the cover against a greyish-white background, attracted me to it. But with life getting in the way, I forgot all about the book after it was released. It was Sally Cronin’s post that reminded me of the book, and I began reading it immediately. With simple, relatable poems, it is an easy read.
At the outset, Harmony explains her choice of cover. She says, ‘This beautiful Lilly is well known for crying- where water droplets form on the petals- and this phenomenon inspired my design for the front cover.’
Although the book is divided into seven sections or stages of grief, the poet states that ‘bereavement is non-linear. It’s common to move up and circle around to the so-called higher steps, only to come crashing down, especially on anniversaries or other meaningful dates. Not only meaningful, as it can be the most insignificant of everyday things that undo us…’
Having experienced a number of losses over the past few years, I’ve traversed the journey towards healing one step at a time. But each loss had left me feeling as vulnerable as the last. Harmony Kent’s introductory lines told me she understood the pain of loss, and it made me curious to read the poems.
About the book
Harmony Kent’s poems are free-verse, not lengthy and clearly show that she understands the depths of grief, the irreversible nature of loss and the ghost of pain that constantly lurks in the background for a person who has lost someone they love.
The poetry in this book is divided into seven sections which, as the poet says, are the ‘established’ emotions- Shock & Disbelief, Denial, Guilt, Anger and Bargaining, Depression, Loneliness & Reflection, Working Through and Acceptance.
Here are the last lines from the poem, ‘Too Much’ from the first section
Gone, they say, gone
A poison fog descends
Numbs my extremities
Dry ice lines my guts
It’s too much
The metaphors used to describe the weight of grief, the repetition of ‘Too much’ and the decision of the poet to write it on separate lines with a space between each expresses the staggered helplessness one feels in the event of loss.
In the poem, ‘Waiting’ the first few lines read as below. Harmony Kent brings out the emotions so subtly here by a play of words.
You’re not lost, or gone, or passed on-
None of those euphemisms folks use
To avoid the bitter truth of death
No, you’re delayed inexplicably
I’ll wait a while longer for you
To find your way home
‘Borrowed Time’ is another poem in this section that touched me. But I don’t want to give out too much.
In the second section, here are a few lines from the poem, ‘I would know’, which show the angst of a person on losing someone they love. I also liked ‘Anticipation’ and ‘Done’ amongst others in this section.
I don’t wanna feel
What I feel right now
Make it all stop
Show me how
The loss of a loved one gives birth to guilt and blame. Harmony Kent brings this out vividly in the third section of the book. I liked the poem ‘Circles’ and ‘Misstep’ in this section.
In the poem, ‘Seeking Absolution,’ these lines give you a taste of the section
‘I should have tried harder
To keep you around’
The poems in the section, ‘Useless’, ‘No Words’, ‘Just One More Time’, and ‘The Worst Kind of Thief’ in the section ‘ Anger and Bargaining’ are reflective of the desperation and frustration one feels on the realization that death is permanent.
The poet has a poem titled ‘Too Much’ in this section, too, as in the first section. But here the title is a question as in ‘Too Much?’ It shows grief turning to desperation.
The fog of despair
A solid wall that blocks
Any forward progress
Give me a sign
A sliver of proof
What I liked about the book?
There are enough poems in each section to help the grieving heal. A lot of sorrow heals by repetition- of thoughts, emotions, and questioning oneself. And it is through repetition that the restless mind slowly settles and learns to accept and move on. The repetition of emotions in the poems, expressed in different ways, is what will resonate with readers who are dealing with the situation of loss. Harmony Kent also provides a list of resources that readers who are going through bereavement can access.
Who is this for?
This book is for anybody who is trying to heal after loss or simply loves poetry that touches the heart and is easy on the tongue. As death is an inescapable phenomenon and grieving and anger, the most obvious emotion associated with it, this book is for everyone.
The book is available on Amazon. It’s free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. I have not read the other two books in this series, but intend to soon.
You can find out more about the author here and see all her other books.
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My debut novel, ‘Coming Home’ is now available on Amazon. If you like to read a story about loss, relationships, love and destiny set in India, then this book is for you.
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