Considering Nature and the Seasons | Review of “Summer Grass” by Marianne Bluger (1992) Brick Books

It is sometimes too easy to forget the natural world around us. We rush around in our modern lives, day in and day out, and forget that there is a world out there. But certain combinations of word can awaken us from our selfish state. And Marianne Bluger’s collection of poetry called Summer Grass contains such a combination of words.

The Ancestors (Page 11)

Late summer now


and rolling clouds

are moving in

mounting fast


in towering cumulus




they build in silence

such a solid thing

as would be thunder

if the dead could speak

Bluger’s words here are strong and forceful, as if to remind us that our lives are surrounded by the natural world as well. As much as we are absorbed by life, the state of the world affects us too.

The Gorge (Page 40-41)

Some axis tipped

the bedrock shifted

a rift

split the mud track between us

and I couldn’t get back


now we’re lost in time

that swampy stuff I’d never seen


and distancing

into prehistory

the future appears

already to have happened

like light arriving

from a star long dead


neither decently buried by glaciers

nor bedded in silt of the ages

unupholstered a dinosaur

wired I must stand



and alone


until I find you again

beside some cliff the quake heaved up

cropping swaying crowns of green


you must stave off extinctiction

and somewhere



you must wait

with your beautiful neck

my mate

my mate

for me

Elements of these words are very matter of fact. The imagery sticks in the reader’s mind long past the words may be forgotten.

Terminus I (Page 44)

As your plane climbed away

I watched from the ground


watched it rise in combustion roar

watched it soar in steep ascent


and was swept where I stood

by a gust from the past


I remembered the past

our troubled past

and this


how a rounding curve in the Gatineau once

we saw a hawk lift off over spruce

its talons hooked

on a drooping rabbit’s nape

The words in Marianne Bluger’s Summer Grass are strong and forceful. And the imagery they create is not easily forgotten. This is a memorable read.

Link to Brick Books webpage for Summer Grass

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