From Youth to Old Age
Poems by Christy MacKaye Barnes
Adonis Press, 2004
128 pages; paperback; $13.95
Imagination’s Music gives a sweeping overview over Christy MacKaye Barnes’ poetical work.
The book begins with a selection of Christy’s poems published when she was 21 in Out of Chrysalis and from Wind in the Grass, published a year later. In the first poem “Up!” she celebrates the sprouting forces of organic growth that she senses in the grasses and trees and feels so strongly within herself. “To Run on Hills” conveys the same exuberant, almost mythical oneness with nature.
The second and third sections of the book are comprised of hitherto unpublished poems written in midlife and old age. As her youthful forces dwindle, Christy turns more and more toward an inner source that grows ever stronger and more definite in her old age.
Throughout the last years of her life, Christy’s poetry often focuses on the immediate impressions of her surroundings, which she portrays with the utmost simplicity, wonder, and devotion. As she has throughout her life, she explores the deep correspondence between the world that lies within and the outer world of nature. As in her youth, she participates inwardly in the creative inner aspect of the outer world, experiencing the living forces of nature within her own soul. Yet much has changed. Gone is the youthful vitality of her early poems. It has been replaced by a mood of peace, permeated by the inner sun of her experience. Here, as in all of her poems, it is the imagination where inner and outer merge in a creative act revealing a deeper dimension of reality.