Harbor Mandala by Michael Collins



As exquisitely designed as a mandala itself, Michael Collins’ Harbor Mandala vividly captures a soul’s search for itself at Mamaroneck Harbor, “this rough, slumbering sanctuary where nature redreams itself.” This poet settles for no sentimental redemption (“redreams,” not “redeems”): the soul finds itself in the rough, ordinary world: “a bird dragging / branches up to the top of the flood lights / of the baseball diamond.” Mandalas are sometimes painted in sand by monks knowing their gorgeous image will be washed away. Harbor Mandala brilliantly probes the paradox of a world where the beauty of nature includes “clams’ shells cast down / to be shattered by hungry gulls,” while a gasoline spill’s reflection reveals the beauty of “that awful light.”

–Robert Thomas

Rating: *****  [5 of 5 Stars!]


What could be more certain and yet more changing than the tides? Michael Collins’ piercing vision settles on a harbor offering solace, yet is also a place where it is difficult to distinguish between what is real, what is reflection. Although the speaker longs for wholeness, the poems themselves are often in two columns “. . . the between within which I listen.” Here is a mirrored world that leaves “. . . halves of clam shells / lined up like tombstones.” These deeply meditative poems, that explore the cycle of life and death, echo Yeats’ own observation that “There is another world but it is in this one.”

–Gail Peck, author of Within Two Rooms

Rating:  ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]




Harbor Mandala

by Michael Collins

$12.49, paper


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