“LAKES AND GARDENS” by Hannie Rouweler
The poems in this collection give me a feeling of excitement and curiosity, a notion of being invited to travel along a road through many different human experiences transformed into a complex and challenging poetic universe. There is no inaccessible and overambitious philosophy or metaphysics to be found in this volume of poetry, instead we hear the calm and at the same time intensive and confident voice of a female poet who builds her poems on scenes from her own life, most of it probably recognizable to her readers. And with a firm belief in her own mission:
The tree is on its own among other trees,
the wood is big, the paths concealed,
and we are looking, don’t know for what.
A poem is light, and searching and wandering.
( From “Poetry” )
Lakes and Gardens contains an unusual richness of motives, ranging from family situations, childhood memories and landscape observations to passion, love, loss and loneliness. Despite these innumerable and varied glimpses from the life of a mature poet, there is no danger of disintegration of poetic style or character.
All through the volume we are struck by the poet’s ability to let her own distinctive features mould her visions into verses, features that are characterized by humor, sincerity, sometimes irony as well as a deep wonder at the small and big mysteries of life. The images and sceneries in many of the poems reveal the poet’s practice as a painter. In the most intimate poems we sense the almost physical presence of the poet and at the same time we have a feeling that everyday words put on a deeper symbolic message:
To hold happiness in your hand, simple as that,
like the good life can be in the sun, a garden,
on a beautiful day in July.
(From ” House on the Hill” )
There is no doubt that Hannie Rouweler has written a book of poetry that is a real gift to her readers’ intellect, imagination and pure pleasure.
Jostein Sæbøe (b. 1942, Norway) reviewer, journalist and translator, studied languages and literature at Bergen University. He has been teaching at Molde Secondary School (1971-2005).
He has translated poetry by Macedonian, Irish, British and Dutch/Flemish poets into Norwegian.