Chris, Chris Moran
Comments 25

“Any lover of poetry will love Chris’s book”

“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.chriscover

Honesty
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.

Optimism
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.

Poet James Nash with Chris Moran at the launch of her book

Poet James Nash with Chris Moran at the launch of her book

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.

Acceptance
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.

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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.

25 Comments

  1. Chris Moran has become such an outstanding poet. The Shakespearean sonnet, “Dancing with Grief,” how accomplished she has become. Poetry that is out of the ordinary has equal parts craft and art. The craft in a sonnet has to do with, partially, the meter, partially the rhyme, but also with the fitting of words together with a syntax that is not strained and instead sings along with the meanings arising from the poem.
    In this sonnet the first phrase strikes you like a match on sandpaper: “Grief devours her face . . .” We all know how grief affects faces if we are old enough to have experienced profound grief, but the image of grief actually devouring her face sets up the next image: “an icy waterfall/gushes down her neck, her shivering breast.” Grief not only devours us, but it shocks us as much as an icy waterfall down our neck.
    Then the revelation: “It’s not the loss of loved ones she recalls;/
    this loss she feels is simply for herself.”
    What is extraordinary about these lines is that they sheer away from what the reader expects and then defines parameters that, perhaps, most, if not all of us, have experienced, the feeling of profound loss we feel as age robs us or our ability to act as we once did or a disability or other loss takes something essential away from who we are.
    Revelation then leads to what is, really, a startling wisdom:
    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.
    If grief is more than a “firework’s fleeting glory blaze,” it then has a purpose inside the poet’s self, our self, that helps deal with the loss that had led to the grief.
    The sonnet ends with the acceptance so central to most of Moran’s poetry that I have read:
    With open arms she lets him (grief) take the lead;
    with swirling skirts she lets her colours bleed.
    This is courage in these lines as well as acceptance and also, with swirling skirts, beauty.
    I enjoyed reading the review by Moran’s childhood friend. I admire the sonnet. Thanks so much for posting it.

  2. Janette Moran says

    What a wonderful review and further comments below. I am biased of course being one of Chris’s daughters but I have and continue to be truly amazed by her poetry and too have seen a transformation since she began writing. I see in everyday life the struggles she faces with MS and her poetry describes this so much more clearly than our everyday conversations can …. I feel privileged to be able to share her inner feelings via her poetry. I feel so so proud of what she has achieved and how Chris’s poetry so skillfully speaks to everyone. A truly skilled poet with a unique style. I always look forward to reading more.

  3. Christine, what wonderful recognition for you. Two such positive critiques of your beautiful poetry. I totally agree that your poem “Dancing with Grief” is totally worthy of the praise given here and shows how far you have come. The words are beautiful, thoughtful, descriptive and flow with feeling, emotion and images. Jennifer x

  4. glendadoodle says

    This poem is quite simply superb. When I want to cry but can’t, I shall read this poem and it will cry for me.

  5. Christine is such an inspiration! It is an honour to count her among my dear friends and it is a great pleasure to be able to reblog this review. Léa

      • Thank you! It is both my great pleasure and honour to reblog a review for Christine. I enjoy my copy very much. Léa

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