When Butte College writing instructor Shannon Rooney was seven, her family moved to Trinity County. “We lived in a house … surrounded by thick forest. My backyard ‘dissolved’ into woods that led all the way up to the Alps; I could ‘dissolve’ into pines, cedars, and firs for long afternoons, especially in summer.”
That experience provides the title of her new book of poetry, “Dissolve” ($7.95 in paperback from CreateSpace; also for Amazon Kindle), and the title of the collections’s first poem. “Dissolve back/ to green haven,” the poet writes, “gentle bower/ of fragrant creek-flow,/ of sky riddled/ with sweet love/ of puffed cloud/ upon puffed cloud,/ of blue jay screeching/ of red-tailed haw/ twee-tweeing,/ of holy moments/ of cattail fluff/ adorning/ morning breeze.”
Life carries us on yet those experiences sustain us, and we must not forget “That There Are Others”: “That there are others/ like me—/ that there are others who quiver and cringe/ walking the busy/ grime-slick streets/ amid red lights glaring,/ car, train, and truck horns blaring,/ our brains bombarded/ by psychic shrapnel//while remembering/ round brush huts,/ sun on naked backs,/ the smell of lupine blooms/ in spring,/ that there are others/ like me….”
As the poet remembers “All that really mattered…,” there is a growing energy in the words, remembering “the maze of trails and secret gullies/ in beckoning hills beyond—/ calling me to rise and wander,/ calling me to see and wonder/ at hidden places, lightly jeweled/ with silver beads of morning dew,/ folded grass revealing/ where doe and fawn had bedded/ in timeless eddies of night.”
In “River,” a realization: “I leak life/ like a clay jar that is cracked—”; “I have gone to seed”; but inside, there’s “a river demanding/ to be a river once more.”
In poems that pluck all the senses, the reader is drawn into wild strength that once was and is yet again, courage in the midst of love and poignant humor.
A reading and book signing with the author will be held at Lyon Books in downtown Chico on Tuesday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m.