The Blue Dragonfly: healing through poetry

Author: Veronica Eley

Title: The Blue Dragonfly – healing through poetry

ISBN: 978-1-989786-49-9 = 9781989786499 – Soft Cover

Trade Paperback: 206 pages – 6 X 9 

Suggested Retail (Paperback): $22.95

Genre: Fiction, Novel, Canadian

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29 words:

The Blue Dragonfly is a melody for the spectacle of trauma; a butterfly dancing through a dark landscape; a tragedy undone by poetry. This book is quite the achievement!

140 Words

Give sorrow words, Shakespeare urges. Twere easier to die – than tell, Emily Dickinson replies. In the dueling epigraphs to this moving work, it seems the answer lies in between. Hope rising from desolation must be sung, not told.

Here, then, is our darkling thrush of hardy fame. Memory fades ‘like / a stone / skipping backwards / over a pond.’ Feelings are ‘statues in the garden / monuments to a crime.’ For this soloist, ‘truth is a long winding sentence.’ Veronica Eley’s piping call is so persistent, in a circumstance so solitary and remote, that one wonders if there is not a God after all. How unassuming and humble is her voice. One hesitates even to praise it. Is it the lonely vigil of the long night that makes her notes ring out so clearly? Her breath itself is song.

475 words

The child, ‘a fertile field / a deep still pond / a silver star, sparkling.’ How brightly these pages turn! The poet’s metaphor is worn like a necklace over the heartbeats of a story. The Blue Dragonfly is much more than a poetry collection. It is a memoir, a detailed forensic analysis but principally, it is a drama in three great acts. Like sister ships on a labyrinthine voyage of discovery each crosses the other in space and time, each is freighted with its own “cargo.” The ultimate port of call – the poet’s original home.

The three ships have names, Secret Monsters, The Bodhisattva, and Mother. The first is a ghost ship, a red witch risen from the graveyard of the sea. It groans with dark memory. Its lading includes an invisible child, a snake sitting at a table, a ‘treasure box without a key,’ ‘ground glass’ marked BPD, rape trauma, and multiple other psychic goods, as shame, loss, and despair. Under the excess weight of alienated motherhood, the ship finally founders in a sea of altered states.

The Bodhisattva is a rescue ship. It is a floating hospital, once called Therapia. The crew are the still-ancient technicians of the soul, tending to the survivors of shipwrecks or other ‘tidal waves’ of personal catastrophe. Shared experience and compassionate witness allow feelings, paralyzed or lost to calamity, to once again weigh anchor. The stories of others (and one’s own) become the charts for re-engaging on a higher level with the ‘red trauma / reverberating around the world.’

The third ship, Mother, is an explorer. The poet herself is now captain. Memory gives lift to her sails. The sun, moon, and stars provide light and compass. Training her telescope along the coastlines of her childhood, she recognizes ‘picked flowers / of the meadows / long ago … before I / fell into the hole.’ The poet will speak again with her mother, and across the gap that separates them (and life from death) bring home together – in forgiveness and transcendence – (two of) ‘the lost daughters of the world.’

A traumatic event, like a stone thrown into a pond, leaves ripples behind, radiating in ever-widening circles. Their widening spiral, through human consciousness, offers the hope of perspective and renewal, which this poet achieves and shares with her reader. She does not dwell upon the acts of cruelty or the patriarchies, as of the Catholic church, that sustain them. Her focus is on the traumatic effect, the ripples in her consciousness, the circles and for this, the indirection of her metaphor, and the discretion in her story, say enough. In the end, love itself, she concludes, is ‘a circle, no beginning, no end … etching on my mind / a landscape.’

This healing book, The Blue Dragonfly, will inevitably be part of the ripples of your own personal growth.