These things, a poetry collection by Elizabeth Awori.

In her debut collection of poems, Lisa talks pain, love, heartbreak and home. Her poems about love and pain are so relatable; so much that she sucks you in and drags you along; you become one with the persona. In the first section of the book, she writes about love in glowing terms with the flowery images of the sun, the water that doesn’t drown but quenches. It’s all bliss and beautiful. She praises her lover and revels in love.

The second section, though, strikes a sharp contrast. What was rosy and beautiful turns bitter. The quenching water now drowns, she becomes a rugged, a baggage-carrying girl, a deserted house, one who dreads home. She relays the pain in this section so vividly that it moves you. The persona stands right in front of you, and her pain beckons your own pain.

Let’s talk about the themes. Simply put, these poems are about love, pain, heartbreak, loss and home (the good and the bad). Her choice of themes is not cliche; but it’s things that we relate to. These things that have become resident in our lives. These things that we see. These things that we feel. These things that we can’t run away from, Or These things that we yearn for but can’t get hold of-the kind that run away from us, leaving dust in our eyes, or these things that destroy us- leaving with us with scars. Reading these poems, I felt love like I have felt it before, I felt an old pain, and for a second, I paused. I exclaimed; “ahhhh I have been through this; someone has made me feel like this. I have yearned for this”. That, for me, made every poem a memory, a scar, a nostalgia… It took me to a place and a date. A date I have been to.

The book’s style is simple; almost conversational and consistently brilliant. But one thing about style that strides between both aisles; of pain and love, heartbreak and home, is the vivid images Elizabeth plants in her poems. I would be lying if I said I didn’t see love; all bright and beautiful, shining like a moon, all alone on the darkest of dark nights. I would be lying if I said I didn’t see constellations just standing by; within reach, while we clutched onto broken stars. I saw myself in the empty house, deserted! Rugged and being haunted by a love unrequited! That’s what this book did to me.

The writer brought the stars down from heaven, she brought the quenching water before my own eyes and infused them into her ideas. I beheld them, they talked to me; they spoke about love and all these things I have felt; things I have seen; things that I have experienced and have left me scarred. One poem in particular “There once was a time,” crawled into my heart, and right there, in the simplest – the choicest of words -it talked about the scars on my skin and all at once, I felt them; felt the wounds afresh!

If I ever forget everything I read in this book, the images; those vivid images, will always flash before my inner eye. The only downside to this book (the sole reason I am not rating it five stars) is the lay out of the poems. I would recommend this book for those at both extremes of love; the fire and the ice, for those at the edge of breaking down (for this book speaks closure and healing) and for those who have found love and/or pain at home.

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