The Marble Bed

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In a long marriage, time surely comes when one resolves not to call it quits, but to pursue the relationship to its natural, regrettable close. All small annoyances will have been accepted, bigger issues put aside, acknowledged if no longer disputed. In her new poetry collection, The Marble Bed, Grace Schulman mourns for her marriage partner of almost 60 years. The poems are redolent with grief, but edging as are intimate, treasured memories—a trip to the conservatory garden in Central Park where

‘…. I raised my hand
To give him a mint stem I’d snipped, illegally.
He offered me a stolen fern. Partners we were
in the only misdemeanors there at day.’

The collection falls into two parts, with a third woven between the other two. Early pages draw together an elegy and a eulogy—a paeon to the happiness, but grief at the sadness meriting equal space. Tucked in, a series of images of Italian marble statuary. The images enhance rather than break the spell of the poems, not a lament nor yet a joyful reminder of the times admiring them together.

The later pages have an added dimension. The language is less commonplace, more poetic, leaving readers a little out in the cold, unsure of the direction the words are taking. And this uncertainty identifies poetry, separates it from prose. The poet offers, but the reader must take it in discriminately.

After her partner’s death, Schulman found introspection exacerbated the sadness:

‘When the medics lifted your lean body
That once loped over hot sand to the sea,
I wanted them to keep you on our bed.’

The emotions appear in technicolor, then the color diminishes as Schulman strives to fill the lonely patches with music, nature, maybe family and friends, or maybe not. Perhaps delving into her private memories is better held until the intensity of the loss begins to ebb.


Reviewed By:

Author Grace Schulman
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 136 pages
Publisher Turtle Point
Publish Date 2020-Oct-20
ISBN 9781885983831
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2021
Category Poetry & Short Stories
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