“I dreamed the earth burned down” A review of How The End Begins
As a student of the Bible, the first idea that crossed my mind when I saw this book was the first three verses of the first chapter of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
The first line of the first poem in the book says, “Cords of voices are unspooling inside my head”.
Spirits hover, voices unspool and linger. Memories: think of the past, remember favourite dresses, remember friends and enemies; you can touch your scars, you can be free in your bathroom. There are also sweet breezes.
“If I can trace the continent of this angel The string will surely drag me back” (p. 3)
Revelation: “I dreamed the earth burned down”. The poet sees it as it unfolds and folds.
“It enters this world Without warning.
Menacing, maniacal, like bees Kept in glass jars For centuries.
History wants to hurt you” (p. 4)
“The song it wants Is the song of birth.
The one that comes Right after death.” (p. 4)
Wisdom: The baby was not denied milk. Hear the poet, “What I want is to become” (p. 6). Unapologetically she adds, “I move from one world / To the next” (p. 6). A poem is free to be what it wants or needs to be. So is a poet. So is a child. Do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle? Remember that teacher who made you hate poetry or mathematics or chemistry or freedom? What don’t you remember about childhood?
Irony: “They carry the paper box coffin and sing” (p. 10).
Fifty-one poems make up the collection, How the End Begins. One interesting thing about this title is that, the book ends with the poem, ‘How the End Begins,’ but that’s just one of three poems sharing same title. The same is happening with other poems—same titles, different poems, better put. Arguably, the work of a poet is to be a better illusionist and to mislead everyone to paradise.
“Where is the doorway To the spirit” (p. 11)
Cynthia Cruz writes what’s on the mind of seraphs.
“I hear music.
It is everywhere And I cannot stop it” (p. 36)
What then is on the mind of seraphs? What is she writing? What is the poet saying?: “The trees are not trees, anyway” (p. 42). And then she says, “I cannot make my own mind stop” (p. 66).