Myth, Memory, and Transcendence in Hélène Cardona’s Dreaming My Animal Selves

Myth, Memory, and Transcendence in Hélène Cardona’s Dreaming My Animal Selves

March 25, 2015Erna Cooper

Dreaming My Animal SelvesShortly after my mother died, while napping near an open window of my apartment on Avenue Foch, I felt—or thought I felt—a hand touch mine. It was warm, large, and familiar. Then I heard my mother’s voice and woke up to see a little bird that flew away toward the Bois de Boulogne. This memory came back to me as I read a collection of poetry by Hélène Cardona, Dreaming My Animal Selves / Le Songe de mes Âmes Animales (Salmon Poetry, 2013), for this is a collection of dreams, grieving, memory, and transcendence. As I awakened from this memory of my mother, I read these lines and was consoled for my loss:

Consider this, be fortunate, grateful,
consider this, be alive
for the greatest gift is given with death.
There is no end and no beginning,
surrender, surrender, surrender.

I pay with my mother’s death
for the price of my dreams
as I dream the world into being
as I dream new memories
as I dream myself into love falling into you. (“Dreamer” 60)

Considère ceci : sois fortunée, reconnaissante,
considère ceci : sois vivante
car l’ultime cadeau est donné avec la mort.
Il n’y a ni fin ni début,
succombe, succombe, succombe.

Je paie avec la mort de ma mère
le prix de mes rêves
tandis que je rêve la création d’un monde,
tandis que je rêve de nouveaux souvenirs,
tandis que je me rêve d’amour t’inonder. (“Rêveuse” 58)

This bilingual collection is a series of poems to remind us of what gives birth both to the literary imagination and to identity. It reminds us of those people, memories, and desires we carry around within us, often without knowing it, until we sleep, dream, and remember our most precious feelings, memories, and sensations.

Read the complete Book Review at WLT:


About 诗东西 Poetry East West

Chinese-English bilingual magazine (will include more languages), published in Los Angeles USA, printed in Beijing China. ISSN 2159-2772

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