Patricia Spears Jones’ second collection Femme du Monde is a passport into the soul of a sophisticated lady, a rich and engaging interior voice that explains her journey inward, outward.
We embark on Patricia Spears Jones’s journey at a place physically and metaphorically called “Hope,” Arkansas. The young college student with her mates on their way to a wedding, stopped at a place of seeming normalcy, a “golden arches”. The young Jones pioneers here have maternal instincts, protective of the young white girl in the car next to them:
“But who is this man to this child? Father, lover, dirty old uncle.”
“ We want to rescue this child.
But where would we take her?
And what would happen to all that money?”
Straight away, the poet makes it clear she is not a passive traveler; we find a woman always paying attention, curious, question, and full of wonder.
So many of the poems in Femme du Monde focus on self exploration as in “Days of Awe”
“I feel as if my life were held together by wishful thinking
And Krazy Glue. Somehow it works.”
Several lines down
and God thinks things over. And while the pondering abides,
Each of us has the time to act one way or the other.
Give, get. Build, destroy”
The poet is not just a mind in motion; being and God are equally in motion. Nothing is finite in this larger process. It is not necessarily in synch, also moving, a constant state of giving and getting, building and destroying. Process, is the nature of things, and she so eloquently and vividly ends this poem:
“As trees old and young
starve their leaves into gold, flame, rust.”
Yet, another metaphorical journey that appears in Ms Jones poems is the social and political one. In “Saltimbanque” we find tribute for those who struggle and an outstanding homage to Martin Luther King. Ms Jones chronicles the student riots, the Paris riots. And, all the progressive movements she captures, they are met with a violent response, but the people stick together:
“people make a song, new song, riot song”
Her beautiful end to the poem, the homage to Martin Luther King, I mentioned, shows again the transcendental nature of those who sacrifice for all of us. These are people who are larger than the movement they embody.
7. “Martin Luther sat bleeding in a Birmingham jail. He worked
his mind along the sacred stations of the cross and found,
if not solace, then the tattered cloth called dignity,
as he prayed for the souls of his jailers.
Tracing Alabama dust, his cross just heavy enough to bear,
Word could have been miracle, joy, power.
It was likely to have been song, people, or alone.
He made, in private, a face mimicking the fat, snuff-dipping guards.
Clown face turned towards the jail-floor dust.
His tears roll away holy laughter. Saltimbanque
In a moment of amazing tenderness and pure rage.
Under the paving stones, the beach.”
This book continues to take us all over the globe, bringing us inside the over- priced lingerie shop in SoHo, NY; the Paris underground, and wherever we go, there is music. This is a lyric collection that is engaging, honest, and with sprinkles of delightful humor.