You may know Sanaa Rizvi of ‘A Dash of Sunny‘ from the dVerse poetry community. Whether or not you are already familiar with her work, I recommend this exquisite poetry collection, which charts the poet’s journey through 2020 in a collection which follows the phases of the moon and the shifting sands of life.
Why Moon Bath?
As Sanaa explains herself in her introduction, a Moon Bath is ‘the celebration of the alignment we share with the moon cycle, as well as nature, making us all feel just a little bit more connected to the outside.’ The poetry collection is divided into 12 parts, each named after a different aspect of the moon, from the ‘Chaste Moon’ of early spring to the ‘Green Corn Moon’ of high summer.
The book follows the poet on a journey of self-discovery through love both lost and found, through denial to realisation of an enduring inner strength. Sanaa’s style is deeply sensuous, as is evident in the early love poems:
I am floating amid cream clouds,
hearing his voice as dark as licorice,
as orange marmalade with deep and intense
I can almost make out the fragrance,
– ‘Ode to Dark Chocolate’ (from Part 3)
The collection contains many references to mythology, in particular to the legends of Hades and Persephone, Orpheus and Eurydice:
I am alone
but not really in my query of the universe;
this pattern is decades old,
with the moon and stars bursting for everyone to see— birth is only the first gate,
like Persephone I bathe myself in the devastating light.
– ‘The eternal blow hot and cold’ (from Part 4); see also ‘When at long last Eurydice woke’ (Part 2), ‘The abduction of Persephone’ (Part 8) and ‘Hades in the Underworld,’ (Part 12)
Disillusioned by a love which was not to be, the poet seeks refuge in denial in Parts 6 and 7, but by Part 8 she has arrived at a new, invaluable realisation:
I am firelight, my consciousness immune to toxicity, to blackness
that surrounds and torments;
I smile knowing it too is a form of rebellion.
– ‘Green Corn Moon ~ Part One: Amidst the ache and turmoil’ (from Part 8)
By the final chapters, the poet’s strength and rebellious character shine through her words:
‘I am the weed in their otherwise perfectly manipulated rose garden—
a teardrop as I dance in the rain; I am a rebel on the go
and I am leaving the lights on.’
– ‘Cold Moon ~ Part One: Leaving the lights on’ (from Part 12)
Sanaa’s imagery is a feast for the senses. Her unique poetic voice sets the tone of the whole collection. To give you just a taste, here are some examples of her style:
I hold a perfect salt-bleached shell to my ear, listen to the voices
reaching out from all sides. Sweet, succulent, savory, the sting
that rises within erases all remains.
– ‘Harvest Moon ~ Part Three: A Soft, Silent September Night’ (From Part 9)
With every touch its fingerprints mark me as its own;
as though a hot coal placed in the center of my chest,
the last of the conversations haunt me,
replays like a boysenberry echo etched—
isn’t it cruelty?
– ‘Mourning Moon ~ Part One: This is by no means autobiographical’ (From Part 10)
Let imperturbability be breath,
as I learn to dig out shadows from underneath my nails—
yesteryear is nothing more than a haunting unparadised,
nothing good ever comes from looking back.
– ‘Blue Moon Rising’ (From Part 10)
This book is a delight for the senses, examining our inner world whilst also questioning the wisdom of society at large. I enjoyed its carefully thought-out structure, providing an overarching narrative which binds the collection together beautifully. Lovers of rich and unorthodox poetic imagery, romanticism and mythology will devour this collection!
To purchase the book, visit Sanaa’s website.
Looking for more poetry recommendations? Check out my ‘Book Reviews‘ section. For enquiries about book reviews, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.