by Lucy Ireland Smiley
Sweet melancholy has been explored by poets for an eternity, and any poet worth her salt has written about despair. Be it melancholy or depression (the more modern term), Lucy Ireland Smiley’s poems are colored with many shades of darkness, but not so much that one is left feeling gloomy after reading them. There is a visceral quality about these poems that renders a sense of understanding, yes, but more importantly, hope. Observing the everyday events in her life, such as gardening, travel, the loss of a friend, and even her own writing, serves as a barometer for her own recovery process. For example, the inescapable feeling of depression is vividly described in “Day upon Day,” where Smiley writes about “…so many bouquets of black roses.” Then, there is a glimmer of hope in “Peeking Out,” where “One day the real me was seen laughing.” In “Depression,” there is a realization that “Life is worth living … Bright beautiful life.” The poems in Fireside Readings acknowledge and express meaningfully and honestly the various stages of depression. In the end, an untroubled person emerges – one who has endured by “Dragging the Dead Elephant.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lucy Ireland Smiley is a gardener, photographer, knitter, quilter, world traveler and part-owner of an independent bookstore, “Jonathan Benton,” in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the mother of Amy Jeannette Easley and is also a grandmother. Smiley lives in a quiet house with three dogs, two cats, a parrot, and two tortoises. She is the author of Shady Summer Day, a book of poems, and Bass-Fishing Bears, a child’s book.
(2006 paperback, 48 pages)