Trying to Figure out Where we are | Review of “Bearings” by Rhonda Batchelor (1985) Brick Books

Trying to figure out where we are either on a map or in our station in life can be a daunting task. Have we made all the right turns and are we pointed in the right direction? Or are there perils and dangers ahead that will block our success in our journey. That is the type of questions Rhonda Batchelor asks in her collection of poetry called Bearings.

Suite Page 7 (excerpt)

Green foliage curls in at the edges of this room

where light, at the whim of the season

can hit with unbending force,

melting the south and west walls.

It can hurt the human eye to sit here at sunset.

The cats come in only after dark

to cry for food, to inspect the curling corners

and to sleep with their backs to the west. Often

I wait for hours before turning on the lamp, preferring

the sure descent of shadow from the angled ceiling.

Batchelor has travelled quite the length of human emotions in this slim volume (44 pages). Her words bring forward a multitude of images to the mind’s eye while reading her words.

Leaving Home (Page 9)

I am dreaming I am waking

in my parents’ house in my old room.

In the winter dark I trail

down creaking stairs to where

my mother sleeps. I steal

several coins from a bedside table,

leave her to her heavy dreams.


In the snow I run to a corner bus

stop where the driver waits

with the lights on. Climbing

aboard I forget my direction but he

eases us out under the night sky,

tells me I’ll need to transfer.

While the words she uses may seem personal, they are documenting emotions and feelings that we all have had. We are not alone with the situations she talks about beautifully here.

What shall we name it (Page 29)


your first comment after our last mistake

rolling off me like warm water to

wait beside my silence   what do I

say to you   it’s okay if I am

I am   a dark pool

I won’t disturb just yet   thinking

instead about a city I saw tonight

reflected in classified

ads you read to me about big

trucks and big money   oil towns

long highways between

you and me    we’ll have both do

what we have to   toss a stone

see which way the circles go.

Rhonda Batchelor has documented many stations poetically in her collection Bearings. A strong read filled with emotions and angst that is universally felt.

Link to Brick Books page for Bearings

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