In this collection of poems, Anne Leigh Parrish looks at women’s experience in the world. In her poem Tutelege, she writes: “from you I learned to…clean a copper-bottomed pan/hem a skirt/trim a rosebush/but not to respect myself or fight for what I wanted.” Or in the legend girl, she writes of a girl who can do anything in her dreams, but who is ground into the dirt by those who don’t see her worth. what we talk about when we watch the handmaid’s tale presents two bitterly opposing reactions to the show–one views it as dystopia and the other secretly thinks the idea has some appeal. “the rib never fit/and the apple had worms,” she writes in a survey of female experience.
Parrish also writes of the natural world. In one of my favorite poems in this collection, she describes a wildfire-caused haze that blankets a garden: “what right have red and pink to/cry what beauty is/when tongues taste ash?” she asks. “wait it out/day by day, hour by hour/no quick fix, just rain/onshore breeze/and the hands that contain/another blaze.” She writes of snowfall, of wind, of rivers winding across the plains–“the memory of an earlier dance/before the planet warmed, or cooled, or met some/fiery moment on its glide through space…”
the moon won’t be dared also contains artwork by Lydia Selk, a collection of black and white prints of her collages that sometimes echo, sometimes complement the poems. Parrish’s poems prompt one to ponder the experience of women in a world dominated by men, aging and older generations, and our place in the natural world. Thought-provoking and often moving.