“My tongue tastes pleasure,
The future of change.
My heart aches in the slowness of history.”
This excerpt from “I Speak Again” expresses the many life long passions of Elizabeth Mayne, a Victoria resident and a visual artist who turned to expressing herself in poetry ten years ago.
Her continuity of sensual passion and pleasure is for some, including the publisher, a major focus of this book, both in the poems and the drawings of fragments of men´s bodies as well as poignant renditions of women´s bodies. She loves beauty but does not ignore hard reality. Her physical response to love, lust and lost are graphically and elegantly expressed.
There is much more. She is a transplanted exile from South Africa and worked for years in anti–apartheid campaigns. Now she can go back to her homeland to visit and she turns her poetic sensibilities to the heritage of injustice and cruelty that still dominate South African life.
Speaking again in her mother tongue, she is overwhelmed by the power of Afrikaans to evoke both joy and fear. Joy for her ease, and fear for a poor old man she jostles and apologizes to for her act; he is bewildered by an apology in the language of oppression.
In “The Sign” she is gripped by black energy; she feels an ambiguous dark power…
“I long to have the instant ability/ to act together. with many/for the common good”.
Elizabeth Mayne writes with clear specific detail and multi-layered nuances of sensuous personal passion, but there is also a rich and lasting passion for humanity, justice and the earth in this collection.