Hinterland Rose
by Elizabeth Clayton
Trafford Publishing

"Slay me not, today, of my own arrows,
But allow all faith and trust
To hold up my tenuous soul."

This poetry compilation delves deep into the metaphysical aspects of life, exploring layers beyond simply what is visible. Utilizing strong visuals of light and dark and the metaphor of the flower, Clayton’s work is bold and vulnerable, routinely evoking themes of loneliness and chaos juxtaposed with hope and healing that is reminiscent of Salvador Dali or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Though the poet explores the depths of darkness in the recesses of the human mind, there is an aura of eerie calm permeating throughout that speaks to her strong command of poetic language.

Inspired by John Donne, Clayton’s experiences with darkness range from loneliness to anxiety, ultimately showing the path to oneness with God. She has an unquestionably strong knack of pacing and deploys the full repertoire of figurative devices, exemplified best by her use of personification in describing the wind, sun, and flowers. Nevertheless, it is the presentation of her work—the background of each poem resembling a crinkled yet vibrant flower—that reels the reader in from the onset.

Many of Clayton’s poems are far more profound than what is apparent on the surface. For instance, in “Seasonal Hour,” the darkness closing in on the summer day could seemingly be implying the conclusion of a season of life. In poems like “Now,” the audience feels the awakening that occurs when people learn to live in the now. Whether for the imagery of the glowing lamp flickering in the solitude and darkness in “Hearth Echoes,” or the age-old dilemma of fleeting time and hesitating in “Ruminations,” nearly every poem is a must-read, carefully crafted into existence as the embers of each day descend into the darkness of night in Clayton’s own life.

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