A wrenching portrait of grief and soft comfort in words and images.
Poetry can exult. Poetry can analyze. Poetry can explore, and it can reflect. But poetry can also mourn. For de Wilde, it did just that, helping her to understand, cope and find solace after the loss of her husband of 50 years. The results of that process come to us now in this touching collection of free verse and photographic reflection composed in the days and months following his death. De Wilde met her partner Bob on a blind date coordinated by their mothers over a half-century ago. And though these seemed unpropitious circumstances for romance, love bloomed nonetheless. Walking out the door to meet the woman who would be his wife, Bob muttered to his mother, “Don’t you ever do this to me again!”—on which de Wilde coyly reflects, “And she didn’t … she didn’t have to.” Theirs was an enduring love, one that left a ragged hole in the author’s heart when it was gone. And she cannot deny the depths of her loss: “I was not ready for you to go,” she writes to her departed husband, “I brought you home to be with me. / I would care for you – / I could care for you / You were my whole life.” And many of the poems in this thin volume attest to the maddeningly stubborn persistence of grief. But slowly, gingerly, the collection also promises hard-won consolation that arrives, often, with divine aid: “Although now separated from you by such distance, such a long space, I am comforted, knowing that someday, when God finds me ready, / He will call me to join you.” Thus, de Wilde’s verse tracks the unhurried catharsis by which loss gives way to hope.
Quiet, beautiful poetry of bereavement.