"This is poetry with layers of complexity made of lace -- a magic carpet ride, not like anything else around."
Helene Cardona's collection Life in Suspension reviewed for Washington Independent Review of Books
Helene Cardona wrote her poems first in English and then translated them, herself, to French — an ideal way to get an exact replica. The poems are a combination of worldly sophistication and fairytale. Cardona is an actor, and singer as well as writer, and her musical background speaks to how she lays her lines with subsets of rhythm. She chooses words that leave a lingering presence, line to line with a light hand, impressionistic, and yet exact. It’s how a singer knows to choose the right vowels and how to create patterns of sound. Cardona distills minutes and crystallizes images. Sometimes I’m reminded of Leonie Adams in tone and temperature for delicacy of theme; and in speaking to the present moment. Cardona’s poetry feels so far away from today’s rhetoric; there’s absolutely no social consciousness about the affairs of the day. It’s multifaceted with imagery and thought that seem removed from present chaos, and could have been written in another century. This is poetry with layers of complexity made of lace — a magic carpet ride, not like anything else around.
Do you remember
when you were wolf and I fawn
when you were a fly caught in my web
when you were snake and I bear
remember how we enchanted
each other through centuries
devoured one other
became the other?
Do you remember
when you were eagle and I jaguar
when we were two dolphins kissing
or cougars in the rain
so that now we can’t tell one
from the other, our cells imbedded
in a tapestry of shared lives?