Reaching For Dawn by Ann Christine Tabaka
Reviewed by Realistic Poetry International
Smooth, wise, and eloquent verses whisper gently to the soul and compile the most remarkably compassionate and crafty collection of poems in Ann Christine Tabaka’s emotive book, Reaching For Dawn.
Just like an artist, Tabaka sketches out the bits and pieces of the many different portraits she’s painted in her lifetime, some, ‘elusive desires,’ while others resemble ‘daymare’s’ and ‘seeds of hope.’
With a voice and tone as calm as the settled sea and words plunging deeper than its unfathomable, bottomless floor, the Author writes of themes that resound with the strong aura of ‘life’s adversities,’ imposed mostly by attributes of irony (Winter Garden, pg. 93), conflict (Eyes Wide Open, pg. 90), suffering (Empty Lives, 73), plight (A Pillow’s Plight, pg. 24) and ambiguity (Beyond the Reach of Time, pg. 85), sending cold chilling drifts of winter our way with featured poems like, “Waiting is the Hardest Part,” an eye-opening poem about death, alcohol and drug addiction.
Familiar with the thought, reality, and sensation of pain, whether personally or from a distance, Tabaka opens up in this collection about some of the emotional and psychological torture she’s experienced and witnessed, sometimes, at the expense of what she calls in one poem, “Poisoned Pleasures.”
The title, alone, is a great example of a paradox and is symbolic for an idea that often leaves many people, like Tabaka, swirling in a whirlwind of emotional turmoil, hooked on the one thing or person that feels good, but in the end is as toxic as poison!
In one verse Tabaka describes feeling tired and being mocked saying, “First you drained me, then turned me inside out, laughing while you played your game,” wishing in her mind that the ornate fruit baskets she sees in front of her in the present day, didn’t look so much like ‘poisoned memories’ on display from a past she so eagerly longs to forget.
Mixing up the flow of her poetry a bit, Tabaka amuses us with the fun, laid-back poem, “Saturday Morning Surprise,” where she combines the power and art of poetry to exemplify humor, illustrate and demonstrate action, and freely share one of the most adorable memories/moments hard for anyone to disremember, especially if you love cats!
For the classic story of ‘cat and mouse,’ or “Tom and Jerry” (an American animated series), becomes much more than a common cliché when one Saturday morning Tabaka’s cat jumps onto the bed with an “unwelcomed gift” that leaves her ‘holding her breath.’
The whimsical and good-natured spirit of this poem reminds us of the everyday simplicities in life that if, observed closely, reveal some of the most interesting and unusual relationships! Like cats and mice. Tabaka’s heart for cats makes itself apparent in other intimate homely poems such as the ‘Ritual’ (pg. 65).
Despite the Author’s soft gracefulness, the versatility in this collection is immense and undeniable. There are times where she uses the tenderness of her words to describe and depict enchanting scenes like from the poem, “Silver Lake, Ocracoke,” just as much as she does to depict the influence and dependence on what she describes as “an array of colorful capsules” (drugs and medication) in the poem, “Precious Cache.”
Author Ann Christine Tabaka’s writing is thought-provoking with the added benefit of stunning imagery that is pleasant and delightful to our senses. In one picturesque piece, she says,
“Daybreak pierces night, wiping away the sleep. Plucking stars from the heavens, placing them neatly in a basket made of dreams (Sun Salutation, pg. 91).”
As we read this poem, we visualize the magnificence in the miraculous transformation of night into day, captivated by the Author’s dancing metaphors that embody the very essence of what poetry truly is; breath, verbal melody, beauty, nature, emotion, feeling and life.
Poems like this and others such as “Winter at the Door,” and “Restless Wind,” reflect a seasonal-style theme that uses nature and its attributes to express change, appearance, and the effects associated with their powerful characteristics.
In fact, the featured poem, “Reaching for Dawn”, is the perfect luminous and inspiring selection to support this, a poignant illustration of herself aiming for the light as she climbs to the top of her mountain, “past fading into the future, as the dawn now turns pure gold.” Her words are uplifting, reflective, resilient, and clearly symbolize her strong will and ambition.
Ann Christine Tabaka proves her talent and love for poetry with this publication and delivers an enjoyable experience with the poetic charms in this book that are more than compelling!
She is realistic with a subtle twist of fantasy, sees both the dark and light in our world, and has a keen eye for humanity and observation. Read the book as proof!
We are pleased to present this book with a 5-star rating and can honestly say, what a wonderful read!
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