by Shelley McAneeley
Stained with the Colours of Sunday Morning
by Rayanne Haines
Inanna Publications and Education Inc. (2017)
Tender, sensual and insightful, Rayanne Haines, creates a gentle journey through the complex relationship of mother/daughter and granddaughter with a twist of myth.
Adorare Vita Bambina she would say
as she kneaded the dough.
This is love. (4)
The smell of homemade bread emanates on Sunday mornings and fills the lungs with the delicious body memory of love. Haines’ three main characters, mother, daughter, granddaughter travel life’s terrain in poems grounded in ordinary daily moments. Her writing is sensual and rich, you can smell, feel and touch her stories. Haines manages to make every moment palpable. She gently rocks a lullaby of love while her poems thread through trauma and joy. Even though desperation hangs in some poems, it never clobbers, it looms shadowy in corners and disintegrates with tender reflection. Clever phrasing such as, “I was raised to the rhythm of hunger” (5), imparts a subtle paradox of life; the pain of hunger wrapped in the smell of home.
Resignation to lust, and the resulting guilt, judgments, and self-judgment, drives the mother to immigrate. Haines’ intriguing exploration of the surrender of love to lust is simply stated, “My body pressed against a stonewall- sinning on my mind. Whispered, mine…”. This moment shifts the future, even the future relationship of the unborn daughter to her mother. All of this struggle with lust is beautifully wrapped in the love between the husband and mother, and later mother and daughter.
I told you I was ready to fall in love.
You laughed, right where we are?
Before you leaned in and hummed
a love song on my lips. (15)
Mythological metaphors strengthen the story of the three women. Haines describes Alina’s (the daughter) anger about Isabella’s (the mother) sin and how that anger burns Alina’s wings turning them Icarus black. Alina carries the scars of the mother’s lust, scorched with her own red hot anger and they “… become silent inhabitants/submerged in that night” (42). Isabella refuses “…to bend a knee to Goddess Latona” and not “…beg for what could not be”(36). The salve Isabella ( mother/crone) offers is “light in place of haunting things”(44). Love reignites with the birth of a new child (Georgia).
This well-crafted book is a pleasure to read. Haines’ insights into interpersonal relationships are astute and poignant.
Shelley McAneeley ponders the world of art in its many forms. She is a voracious reader and sometimes creator of poems. You can enjoy some of her poems in Drifting Like A Metaphor, edited by Micheline Maylor and available through Frontenac House (2018). She is a poetry editor at FreeFall Magazine.