In these sparely fashioned poems Sarton (The Silence Now) contemplates life from the perspective of 80 years. The book is dedicated to the poet's cat, her muse. This may seem whimsical, and some of the poems are essentially notations (``A Thought''). Others, however, like sudden revelations that occur in the small hours, are distilled and crystalline: ``these poems are minimal because my life is reduced to essences.'' Their tone is often dark, as the poet remembers friends and family now gone. Sarton's poetic voice ranges from such painful severity to rhythmic, rhyming celebrations of life which owe much to Yeats, whom she acknowledges as an inspiration. But for her, old age represents less an aesthetic stance than an everyday reality, sometimes painfully personal and revealing: ``When I am dressed/ At last/ It is a small triumph.'' In form the poems are very restrained, but not in emotion. They provide a vehicle for simply transmitting the ebb and flow of memory into presence. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/1994 Release date: 11/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
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