Most of us in the Choir know Margaret Zanardo as the graphic designer responsible for creating a number of stylish posters and programmes for the Choir over the past ten or so years. Maybe we knew that she had taught English in a variety of schools and colleges. What we did not know – until recently – is that she is a poet.
Time out of Mind – Poems of Love and Loss is Margaret’s first published anthology. It is a modest booklet, or chapbook, of twenty short poems written over the past three years.
The booklet is indeed modest in size, and the poems are all short, each occupying less than a single page in print. Most I found immediately comprehensible; some took more than one reading, and even then I am not sure I fully understand them. And a few remain a mystery after several perusals.
The subject – Love and Loss – is interesting, as we each have our own experience, some the greater, some the less. These poems do not spare the reader. Feelings and emotion, longing and yearning, ooze out of each one. It is impossible to read them without being moved by the grief and pain felt in losing someone or something which has been an integral part of oneself and then disappears, never to return other than in the imagination.
It is possible that Margaret has written entirely from her imagination. But the power of the poems suggests that she writes from deep felt experience. If this is so, then she deserves the thanks of her readers on two counts. Firstly from those who have also experienced such loss, that the poems help them to come to terms with what has happened. Secondly, from those who have yet to experience such loss, that they may be better prepared for how they might feel in similar circumstances.
It is hard to choose one or a few favourite items in this anthology as each poem highlights a different nuance on the overall topic. Perhaps, for this reviewer, When do I think of you? is a summation of the theme, as the answer, without giving a spoiler, is more than all-pervasive.
Margaret will be at a Choir rehearsal on February 27th with copies of Time out of Mind which cost $5 each. Otherwise they are available from the publisher, Ginnindera Press.