“Towards the end of the book ‘All This’ contains two telling lines: ‘I have learned to love silence‘ and ‘nothing is yet past’.”
Teacher Robert Ledger, who knew Chris Moran when they were both 13 but had since lost contact with her, was recently intrigued to discover that she had written a book of poetry.
He got hold of a copy and was amazed that the schoolgirl he knew ‘more interested in being a girl than putting pen to paper’ had transformed into a ‘weaver of words’.
The poetry spoke to him, as it speaks to so many readers, and he was moved to share his impressions of Chris’s poetry and what it means to him:
Weaver of words
Any lover of poetry will love Chris’s book. Any person having had problems will love it even more. It’s the passage of a very ordinary (but rather attractive!) schoolgirl more interested in being a girl than in putting pen to paper, into a weaver of words. I find the whole transition amazing especially as it seems to have come as a result of more adversity than one individual deserves.
Dancing in the Rain does not attempt to be other than a beautifully written slant on life. Sometimes slightly cynical, sometimes highly amusing, but most often moving in the artistry of its words applied to subjects once thought to be taboo.
The honesty of the poem ‘Daughter’ moved me greatly. Alcoholism is something from which some never recover and those that do seldom bare their souls in this way. The personification of illness in ‘Surrender’ is amazing, but then the whole book is.
The transition from recovery from the illness of alcoholism to the discovery of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) must have strained Chris’s every spiritual tenet. I’m going to assume some chronological order in the book which makes the whole journey more uplifting for me.
The optimism of ‘Sobriety –Ten Years On’ which concludes with the lines: ‘Ten years on, I would not/trade my sobriety for anything‘, gives way to the introduction of MS in ‘The Party’s Over’. Its final line, ‘I simply want what I cannot have’ might be an initial non-acceptance of the replacement invader.
The poem, ‘Incredulous’ too airs frustration: ‘Sometimes I sob out loud,/Incredulous’. ‘Coming in from the Cold’ deals with early acceptance and concludes: ‘I am in charge,/we will get along just fine’ – a statement of returning good humour mingled with defiance.
Towards the end of the book ‘All This’ contains two telling lines: ‘I have learned to love silence‘ and ‘nothing is yet past’ which lifted me with their acceptance and optimism.
Finally, the poem, ‘Don’t Let Go’ is pure optimism: ‘The more you lose,/the more you find/to hang onto’. What a wonderful way to view adversity!
I’ve ensured that a copy of the book is in the Library of St Peter’s School in York (UK) where I teach. There should be a minimum of one copy in every school library.
We’re really pleased to be able to share one of Chris’s latest poems:
Dancing with Grief
Grief devours her face; an icy waterfall
gushes down her neck, her shivering breast.
It’s not the loss of loved ones she recalls;
this loss she feels is simply for herself.
If only it were over in a flash,
a firework’s fleeting glory blaze – then calm
and equanimity restored at last,
but grief clings hard, a limpet to her arm.
I won’t let go, says grief, you need me here;
I have a purpose to fulfil – you’ll see –
Just fall into my arms, forego your fears;
just fall into my heart; come, dance with me.
With open arms she lets him take the lead;
with swirling skirts she lets her colours bleed.