These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Red Shoe

The Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky
Allen and Unwin. 2006

red shoes

stories of thoughts
and emotions
laced by
red shoes

think Dorothy
travelling in a parallel land
pushed into life by 
multiple tornado effects

Matilda craves her mother's red shoes

chance lets her  feel them
in the bush

but one is lost
when she climbs a tree

fresh echoes of war
like some angry ghost

polio outbreak
all framed by
the Petrov affair

newspaper clips
drift by

Elizabeth is brushed with a kind of madness
and cannot go to school

dreams of growing up
and loses the friend
she imagined she would marry some day

Mrs Petrov loses
a shoe
as she boards the plane

the girls' mother
receives a gift of red shoes
when her husband returns
from war nightmares

his brother Paul could not help him
but fortunately
the swinging rope
this time

think post war 
and stars

think the Land Oz
with many Dorothys

and red shoes

Linking to:
Poets United ~ Poetry Pantry

The Red ShoeThe Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The scattered debris of post war worlds is all here. The headlines of the day cut into the home lives. Disturbingly, perspectives of home mirror the crises on larger scales. This is not a novel based on a traditional, linear narrative sequence. It is like mini memoirs co-existing spiced with flashbacks; mainly the memoirs of children growing up in a world they barely understand. The effect is mesmerising; a sense of sadness grappling with the right to find some kind of happiness - with a little help from some red shoes that could be magical.

View all my reviews


Brian Miller said...

very cool...amazing how much something like a pair of shoes can transport us out of a harsh living to somewhere else...made me think of that movie as well on the christmas shoes...and of course dorothy as well...the sight ont he face of a homeless person as you give them new shoes...done that a few times too....

Mary said...

A fine summation in verse.

Dances With Vodka said...

A tornado of imagery! Well done!

Sherri B. said...

Lovely have me very curious about this book now. Thank you for sharing!

Sumana Roy said...

nice word picture.

NataĊĦa Dolenc said...

this was a beautiful read..

Anonymous said...

Surreal images, haiku like poetry, book review! Wonderful!

Susan said...

... and not to forget that 1940s movie of the red shoes dancing a ballerina to death ... based on a fairy tale, I believe.

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