Chronical of Lost Moments
by Lara Dolphin
21 poems ~ 35 pages
Price: $8.00 tax included
Publisher: Dancing Girl Press
To Order: Dancing Girl Press And Studio
Reviewed by Michael Escoubas
Among the many aphorisms uttered by Wallace Stevens is this gem: Poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right. I have always treasured that quote because it gets to the heart of poetry and why people write poetry. As I immersed myself in Lara Dolphin’s latest chapbook, Chronical of Lost Moments, I was impressed by Dolphin’s eye for detail and heart for the ironies of life. Her poetry demonstrates an affinity akin to Stevens. More on this later.
I lead with the poem which opens the collection: “As The Earth Regards the Anthropocene”:
All our stuff (the concrete the asphalt
the gravel the plastic) outweighs every
living thing on the planet from the Pando
aspens to the pygmy possum–
creation waits for us and while it’s easy
for gestures long-delayed like a greeting card
lost in the mail or a flight stuck on the tarmac–
it’s almost lunch and I’m at the donation center
chatting with Dave as he helps unload a trunk
full of gently-used clothes books and toys–
he’s told me that he’s five months sober
he won’t get the kids for the holiday
I tell him about my job the long hours
the low pay my car that won’t stay fixed
so there we stand among the stuffed animals
and kitchen appliances feeling
the weight of the world on our shoulders.
The title segues into Dolphin’s themes: “Anthropocene” refers to human activity as it relates to climate and environment. I researched Pando aspens and the pygmy possum. A large Pando aspen grove in Utah is in grave danger from several outside influences. I did not know that this tree grove, with its lovely yellow foliage, is the single largest organism in the world and has been around for thousands of years.
There are fewer than 2,000 pygmy possums left in the world. This cute creature is prey to several predators and suffers from a reduction in food supply. These potential losses may seem trivial to some but not to Dolphin. Moving into the heart of the poem, the poet chronicles a series of “ordinary” things common to daily life. These “lost moments” pile on and weigh us down . . . while “creation waits” for meaningful human responses to challenges that could have irreversible impact on life as we know it.
Stylistically, Dolphin writes in free verse. When she uses rhyme, she uses it well. “Lost In L.A.” illustrates:
There is no worry of wind or snow
or time or place in Godot’s Hyperloop below
sidewalks where children run and play
near streets where out-of-towners lose their way.
No trains, parades or fire trucks
no snapping turtles, so safe of ducks
will slow the traffic as it flows
to listen, for what, no one knows.
Where cars sail by on electric skates
and no one sees and nothing waits.
While a variety of environmental themes permeate Dolphin’s Chronicle, poetry as fun and entertaining is important to her. “Pace of Play” pokes fun at baseball. It’s slow pace is about as boring as waiting for the oven to heat. Don’t miss this one!
Dolphin’s heart for her husband showcases one of many tender moments included in Chronicle. Her innate pathos shines in “The Best Time To Plant A Tree”:
we were classmates in seventh grade
hanging out at band practice
riding the same bus home
we made out in high school
then went our separate ways
four years of collect passed
before we met again
and another five years would pass
before you got serious and I got smart
and you asked me to marry you
the fifth anniversary is wood
so let’s plant a tree to celebrate
we make a hole two times larger
than the nursery container is deep
for our hearty Appalachian Redbud
as we dig I try to remember
the last time I told you I love you
that you are my lifesource, my breath
I should have told you twenty years ago
the second best time is now.
I thought the author should have used the title, Chronicle of Lost Moments Recovered. The tenderness and maturity enshrined in the above poem is precisely why. In it Lara Dolphin understands that poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right.