Review of seven books of love poems: Tryst, Learn the Dance, Simply in Love; To the Far Horizon; Love Letters to the Earth; A Shell Held to the Ear and the final book, The Only Altar, published after Norman’s untimely death.
To say I was moved is an understatement. I attended Silke’s readings of the last book, The Only Altar with some trepidation after receiving the books to review and an invitation to a reading in Simon’s Town earlier this year. How was I going to cope, listening to poems from a beautiful woman poet whose beloved soul mate and husband has died?
Silke held herself perfectly, read with passion, simplicity and love. It was I who received the jolt. These poems could have been about my life, my soulmate, right down to the ill health, watching your loved one struggling and in pain, joy in the mundane, gratefulness.
These were my immediate thoughts after the reading of The Only Altar, which I penned in a notebook, ‘Your poems (Silke and Norman) opened up my innermost parts where deep down the language of love, life and death mingle and intertwine. Here, a key has been turned, there is a light leading the way out.’
After reading the first five books again I can finally put pen to paper, not because I dislike them, quite the opposite; the poetry reaches my inner core and I’ve had to reach right in and acknowledge so much that is similar.
The poetry in these books are of two adults, broken, hurt individuals who discover raw, all-empowering love with a soul mate. who could have been a long-lost lover in a former life. They are besotted, like young lovers exploring their bodies and powerful sexual urges. The beauty of mature love is that these lovers find perfection in each other where others would see age, wrinkles and gnarled hands.
Once the first stage of love and romance is over it chrysalises into a new love, of respect, tolerance and trust. Self-doubts are assuaged in their desires that bind them together and in Silke’s words in Late Harvest “… in our ripeness we are each other’s final dawning – a late harvest’s sweetness has more rising suns than any other.”
The poets and lovers find beauty in each other and all around them amidst the feelings of angst at Norman’s failing health. Each is absorbed by the other, to the end Norman sees Silke’s beautiful frail body (that has grown smaller as his health dwindles) as delicate and bud-like.
Time is of the essence, Silke and Norman make the most of each day, sitting and writing to each other or sms’ing when they are not together. The love tryst carries on far beyond the reach of a mortal body. The soul is ever present, talking in the wind, the sky, the earth, the butterfly landing on a rose.
True love never ends.
– Cathy Dippnall, writer and editor, 12th November 2018