Deeper Into the Pond

Deeper Into the Pond
A Celebration of Femininity
by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Original artwork by Jacquie Schnell

“Vivid images…will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to read once. They will stay with you forever.” ~Nancy Famolari

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Military Writers Society of America Bronze Medal Award winner

A few reviews

“This is a rich tapestry of a celebration. It opens with Carolyn’s verse and a ballad of marine exotica and moves to the name bearing poem “Narcissus Revisited” which mirrors the suffocation of `progress’ that gives freedoms with one hand and takes with the other. Here the deadly oil slick wall kills as readily as any of glass – progressive killing –

Those who feel
new freedoms like I, some later-borns
unaware that they are new, accept
the yellow-bright shimmer
spread across the surface
as if it were our doing
or our due.

The next poem makes a nod to John Masefield’s ” Sea Fever” but taking it in role reversal with ship at dock and the poet manning the great swooping cranes that unload.

I want to go down to the sea at dawn
with a lunch bucket and thermos,

[and then]
and push the big gear shifts to make a boom

tall as a building turn, swing down toward carloads
of gravel, clamp chunks of whatever freighters

I love the bittersweet of “Ariel” and its death-defying reach in to the unknowable.

You need
the music to tell your story,
to find it, to understand it
to know the truth,
to reach above the
ocean’s surface

Death is horribly present in the all too revelatory “what I once would have called a little tiff”. Those of us who have lived long enough know too well of what she speaks…

i learned
to call a spat a spat,
an inheritance something
more than money,
an argument,
a fight-to-the-death.

Magdalena’s opening poem both celebrates and denounces the hippy freedom of a generation that chose to `love’ but not their children well.

secretly leaning in for more
parenting I didn’t get
punishment I
no rod spared
no spoiling.

“Time Out” speaks of the guilt trip that is motherhood if you are, as many creatives are, a perfectionist and time your merciless master .

I shoot a response
what now?
two bullets of frustration land in
her timeless lap
as she slips off.

Magdalena has written a powerfully poignant tribute to all those frightened elderly flood victims, trapped in rising waters and psychologically unable to leave their lives behind –

You pretend
three hundred netfriends
hold your virtual hand
take you places
that don’t involve
the perpetual womb
you’ve pushed into.

Magdalena’s “Coming Back ends the collection with an almost whispered reverie on love and loss in a no man’s land of guilt and recriminations –

No one dared point a finger.

We tried not to look at her but it was hard.

So we looked out of the corner of our eye when
we walked past, our heads thrown back fake
laughter all the while drawn towards the silence
of that pain the peripheral gravity that wouldn’t
let us settle into our evening of forgetting.

This collection offers the feminine take on life, love and everything in between and does it with élan!” J.R.McRae

“With moving and poetic imagery Deeper Into the Pond is a wonderful collection of poems focusing on women. This collection highlights all the roles women seem to so effortless embrace and handle, including that of aging. From life, to death, to writing, Deeper Into the Pond has something for everyone.” Karen Cioffi, Author, Ghostwriter, Freelance Writer

“These little gems are about life, love, hunger, yearning, regret and all those things that make us human. Moved me as much as anything we read in Engl Lit 101-102.”  Virgil Jose
Author: “The Examined Life,”

“Deeper Into the Pond is another successful collaboration between Carolyn Howard-Johns and Magdelena Ball. I my estimation this collection is even more mature and moving than their previous work. Vivid images in this collection of poems distill the lives of the women who wrote them. They speak to all the stages of life and our roles as women reminding us how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for. They celebrate aging and our roles as wives, mothers and lovers. Whatever your age these poems will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to read once. They will stay with you forever. If you enjoy poetry, I highly recommend this collection.” Nancy Famolari