Hot off the press!!
Grief's Labyrinth and other poems
By Lisa Albright Ratnavira
Illustrated by Gamini Ratnavira
She searches patiently
dark tresses dancing
in the scented breeze
past the thousands of maroon
tinted sweet peas
intoxicating and beautiful.
For the one striated with lavender, dusted with pink
she walks gently between their climbing vines
easing a poppy seed pod open
spreading hundreds of babies for next spring.
She labors for the one spectacular blossom.
Erupting in smiles
she brings in the irresistible boquet
filling our kitchen
with the aroma of such
warmth, sun kissed petals
exquisite in our home.
Years later I am left
searching alone, discovering
lavender, baby pink
striations. I pick
the maroon, the common
leaving the one-in-a-million to recreate
In my garden
in my every breath
I keep her sweetness here
so that in her absence
we are not divided.
Lisa Ratnavira premiering Grief's Labyrinth.
As a gossamer floret
I danced into my destiny
earnestly blooming with sunshine
and carrying my grandmother's identity, too.
My yellow petals fell away one by one
as I transformed into a
full moon of alabaster wishes
leaving me heady with possibilities.
I released each floret with care
except for one sole pappus.
She took flight ahead of the others.
These wishes left me changed
less than the dream-filled golden dandelion
the fertile white gossamer blow ball
bent in prayer like a monk's shaven head.
I leave this field almost invisible
and yet my dreams remain.
Writer Penny Perry on Grief's Labyrinth.
This deep new book can be ordered off Garden Oak Press's website:
Praise for Grief's Labyrinth and other poems
Reacting to the sudden death of her daughter, poet Lisa Albright Ratnavira, journeys through a maze of melancholy, finding hope on a path of enlightenment by the beauty of nature. This remarkable collection of poems shares the structure, themes and symbols of a traditional elegy
ennobles the form and establishes for Grief's Labyrinth a place in a revered tradition.
Robert Louis Chianese Ph.D.
Emeritus Prof. English, CSU Northridge
"Spirit says you must use your free will to decide to grieve and heal. Lisa dives into the depth of her pain for healing & transformation bringing in new life as she expresses each word."
Forged in the crucible of her daughter's sudden and inexplicable death at age 22, 'the greatest loss a heart can bear', this reflection on life and its vicissitudes by poet Lisa Ratnavira takes the reader on a journey into mindscapes and landscapes that are both enthralling and exotic. From a labyrinth of dark melancholy Ratnavira emerges in her quest to 'normal' again. It is so hard. But the beauty of Nature might offer a path...
I've known Lisa as a student and a friend since she was 16. She and her poetry have grown in artistry and stature as she confronts the joys and tragedies of the world and her life. Grief's Labyrinth is honest, heartbreaking, uplifting, and her best work to date.
Lisa’s profound and poetic tribute to Natalie springs from the deepest place within her – the place that knows how to heal her soul through a creative response to grief. Together with Gamini’s paintings that spring the book to visual life, they dance, keeping their daughter’s spirit alive and teaching that love never dies.
Beth Kingsley Hawkins, M. A., music psychotherapist
We will all experience grief at some point in our lives. In these poems Lisa Ratnavira shares so openly and so eloquently what grief felt like to her. But she also shares the hope that walks hand in hand with that grief.
Joan Maloof, author of Teaching the Trees: Lessons from the Forest Joan Maloof Executive Director, Old-Growth Forest Network Professor Emeritus, Salisbury University Nature's Temples: The Complex World of Old-Growth Forests
A collection deeply reflective elegiac poems written by a mother struggling to give meaning to the life and loss of her cherished daughter. They aren’t just moving—they lead us to ponder the meaning of life itself; and that there is no meaning except in love.
In Grief's Labyrinth and other poems, Lisa Ratnavira reminds the reader that each person--each writer--knows a unique grief, meanders around it, finds distraction from it, revisits it, and is reminded again that it remains near, forever. Ratnavira reveals her poetic journey, from the threnody of loss to learning to live wholly again to accepting that sorrow is always in reach. In this volume, readers will find common waypoints, well worth visiting.
Kit-Bacon Gressit, M.F. A.