‘My mind the menace’ by Sarah Fairbairn is an expressive, emotive, and intriguing book of poetry which shook me off balance and reminded me that life was meant for all humans to be cherished and enjoyed. The title, although subversive of the order of the mind, does not undermine Reason as the poetess in all of her poems made a point and delivered a message through an explosive fits of emotions. The poetess’s illusive madness is in fact reason, whereas the order of society, which is under a justifiable hefty criticism by the poetess, is in fact the epitome of madness. The deficient humanism in society is the cause of madness within the poetess. The mind of the poetess may seem at first impression diffused, disordered, and even erratic, but a further extensive read, and a subsequent deep analysis concludes that in fact the poetess is at balance and that she makes very much sense. Her fits of rage are in fact an utterance of humanism, and an indication of virtue and chastity. Bound by moral virtue the poetess naturally admonishes her friends, family, and society. Her super humanism, care for life, and her love for life render her a rebellious poetess. Her rebellion against the madness of the world and against the apathy of her surrounding mates is a war against vanity. It has been a joy for me to read and analyze this book.
The uniqueness of divine poetry is often embedded with humor. However, since this collection is at a preliminary stage of exploration, or what is often known as experimental poetry, I did not expect to find any traces of humor. Therefore I was quite surprised by the poem ‘Fire my friend’ as here the last five verses are funny punch lines. The subsequent poem ‘Fend for yourself’ proceeds with the humorous tone, as here the subject of the poetess’s rage, whom is immersed with sadistic apathy, so we learn also from other poems, is reprimanded. The rigorous outrage, however, is hilarious, particularly the fourth line, but there is a point at the end. The cry of the poetess is subversive of the inhuman vice of oblivion. She cares too much, thus when she is encountered with a person who does not care at all, her furious reprimand is justifiable. The reader identifies with the poetess because of her good heart and emotional care for life and for the beauties of life. In the subsequent poem ‘You seek’, which is, in my view, implying that the poetess is an emissary of the light, the humor is expressed in the last three lines of the poem. Her genuine emotions together with her love towards her subject allows her to give vent to the truth from her perspective, thus the punch lines arouse laughter through irony. In the poem ‘Stay or Stray’ there is another expression of the poetess’s wish to escape her horrible reality, but once more, she chooses to stay despite the hardships. The reader learns that she is a responsible parent, compassionate, and altruistic. Many of her harsh expressions throughout the book were made on the spur of the moment, but at the end of the day, the poetess chooses God over the devil, and altruism over selfishness, a fact which renders her admirable, altruistic and heroic. I really thought about the role of the poet here as a super human, or as an epic hero that was born to save mankind. Clearly she is a poetess of the redeemer type whom is misplaced in society. Her place is among the higher ranks of society, but sadly, since society is not a devout of moral virtue that she is bound to suffer. It is tragic in my view that poets are not accepted as moral leaders in society because of ignorance. The relationship of the poetess with the dark world is fascinating as she is in touch with her inner demons and knows how to control them, even though she expresses the complete opposite. In ‘My mind is the menace’ I felt that despite the poetess’s assertions of a rasped mind, it was in fact her good heart that was in a constant struggle. I felt that the way she handled her darkness in such a mild transmutation was in fact a success. Thus, despite her personal conclusion that darkness always triumphs over the light in regard to her emotions, she manages to prove the complete opposite, that the love of life itself is the light that cannot be consumed by darkness. The search of order in this poem reminded me about the first chapter of the bible, in Genesis, when the world was first created out of chaos. The erratic mind in this poem is influenced by a valiant heart that never gives up in the end. In ‘Words in my way’ I have enjoyed the rhymes at the last part of the poem. Although it feels as an experimental poem, it was nicely executed in emotion. I loved the soft tone embedded with the straightforward truth. I did not find any lies in this explosive collection, a fact which renders the poetess loyal and trustworthy a person. In ‘Rat Trap’ I felt for the poetess. Here, her emotional breakdown is subversive of a world of lies and hypocrisy, and subversive of oblivion, lack of compassion, and lack of humanism. This poem, therefore is advocating for humanism and emotion. Generally speaking, the utterances of fury and expressions of rage in language are mere genuine feelings of unrest and frustration, but not without a good reason. The poetess always explains the reasons for her rage, a fact which brings the readers closer to a sensible understanding of her anger. The last poem in this collection ‘Back to shore’ is a genuine cry for help and solidarity. Other moralists will naturally react to the call of the poetess and give her hand and accompany her to the shore of salvation. I have enjoyed the spirit of parenthood and the loyalty of the mother to the laws of nature in the poem ’26 years old’. As a parent I have felt that her child here is a winner of a great mother, as she will nourish her child with love and care. It was a poem of loyalty despite the grumble of a typical poet. ‘Shame’ was an interesting poem, as here the blitz against the unthankful oblivious subject has to do with unreciprocated love and responsibility. It is a poem subversive of neglect, apathy, and spiritual death. ‘This shallow reflection’ is a very critical poem, although I very much disagree with the first line of the poem. The tones of a heartbreak and disappointment reach the climax in the punch line. The dilemma which accompanies the poetess throughout the book is fiercely expressed in ‘Arms around me’. However, despite her mental torture and horrible state of mind she manages always to survive the situation and heal herself. That is a sign of fortitude and endurance. The poem, which I believe really exposes the strength of faith of the poetess here is ‘Slave’, as her rebellion against darkness is in fact rewarded with a final victory. Her victory is in her love of life, in Carpe Diem, and in the fact that she overcomes despair. She lost many battles, but she has always won the war of salvation against vanity; A fact which renders her a savior. Her explosive humanism is a result of her adherence to everlasting love and to the principles of salvation. Her rebellious nature and her true agenda, which is to destroy the polarity of vanity, are also noticed in the powerful poem ‘Tear it down’ as here her straightforward declaration of war is against the kingdom of vain pride. Moreover, this poem is also subversive of the system of man and of the order of society. Basically her declaration of war is against madness which stems from vanity. Therefore the poetess cannot, and will not, conform to a society which enslaves people to lose their true meaning in life, and/or to become automatons. The poetess is subversive of dogmatism and automatism, as she professes for life and advocate for salvation through higher individualism. She lives the moment and that is why she suffers so much, as all those around her have been consumed by vanity. They don’t feel what she feels, because they are asleep in vanity. ‘Dollar’ is another poem which consolidates the poetess rebellion against the system of man, as here many people are subordinated to the money system. But the poetess here goes deeper in her reproach and criticizes the fact that people worship money. She further implies that money is the reason for the madness and oppression of everybody. Even her husband is subjected to her criticism against vanity, but because she is a leader in the moral sphere such a conflict is inevitable as he lacks the insight to fathom her true role in life, which is to lead in morals. The poetess is paradoxically a pathfinder whom is stuck in a lost world. Not because she does not know the way, for she knows the way. But she is stuck because she is deprived from the opportunity to follow her true vocation, because of the primitive dogmas and ignorance of contemporary society. In this poem it is clear that the poetess is a dove of peace that abides by divine law. Her criticism against money is both impressive and admirable. I should remark here that it was a comfort for me to read that despite all the harsh criticism, the poetess never considered her husband, family, and/or friends as enemies. Despite her hard time she lives in unity and harmony with them. The reader should not be judgmental in regard to the use of language in ‘Bad call’ as here the rage of the poetess is associated with the tone of depression. Here the betrayal of her partner and the disappointment that follows justifies her rage. Justice is running deep within the poetess. In the subsequent poem ‘Blue’ I have enjoyed the alliteration and rhymes. However, the strongest assertion of the poetess’s true character appears, in my view, in the poem ‘Hate you’. Her virtue of forgiveness and healing nature seal the poem and in fact nullifies the title. At the end of the day, despite of all the pain, rage, and sufferings, the poetess returns to the oasis of love. This poem reminded me about the second testament in regard to the principle of universal love. However, the poetess’s hot temper and fits of rage do not weaken her boons, but on the contrary. The poetess refuses to yield to apathy, oppression, and/or to injustice, and therefore she makes noise, rebels and whines, criticizes and scolds. She is the equivalent of an erupted volcano, only that the lava here is in fact love. The first line of ‘One day in bed’ is a very interesting declaration of non conformism. Solitude becomes a middle ground, but calling her non conformism sin only reminds the reader how rugged is the law of man in comparison with the law of nature. The poetess’s adherence to nature and to the love of life is at endless conflict with human society, because human society lacks love and compassion. The rhythm and emotional drift in ‘The land of Z’ were enjoyable, whereas in the subsequent poem ‘Teenage games’ it was the sense of motion and change which provoked the mind of the reader. Here I really felt the hidden message of Carpe Diem as life is a very brief moment and full of changes, like the currents of the sea or like the wind in the sky. In ‘Way out of bounds’ the sense of betrayal and the deep pain involved resurfaces, to suggest that poetry for the poetess is a healer. ‘Day’ was an interesting poem to analyze as here the rhymes and the mild tempo were compatible with the mood, which was somewhat a bland of melancholy tinged with an epic notion. ‘Food’ surprised me in the valiant separation between the material world and the spiritual world. The poetess is definitely metaphysical and her awareness of food’s damage to her body and soul in instructive. I thought that it was not a coincidence that the poetess used the word evil in association with money and food in this collection, as both money and food corrupts mankind and are the roots of evil when abuse is involved. The poetess advocates for the balance and not for the loss of it. Hence, her poetry is subversive of materialism, as it promotes higher values and calls for a new way of life in a higher level of consciousness. ‘In the mirror’ was a harsh poem of self criticism. I felt sorry for the poetess to be so harsh on herself. It could, however, be interpreted as criticism against lack of achievements in regard to human experience rather than a dissatisfaction that stems from a lower self esteem. The poetess, nevertheless, is fixated on moral order and I believe that one of the flaws of such a wonderful order is harsh self criticism. ‘The beast’ is a great poem, as here I have truly identified with the poetess. It was probably the most realistic poem in regard to humanism. The recognition of the dark side is denied by many humans, yet the poetess speaks of it here in truth, and I felt that she was in fact in control of her beast. The awareness of the beast and the acceptance of its needs are clearly understood and respected by the poetess. And here I felt that her criticism against the confinement of a human being is justified, as we are not robots programmed to work for the system of man, we are human beings that were born to enjoy life. Society has subordinated human beings and demonized them, calling them beasts when they dream to have a real life, a better life, thus the poetess here is definitely a redeemer and a savior. It was definitely one of the strongest messages in this book. The struggle of Yin and Yang is implied in this poem and it suggests that the balance is in fact attainable. T he poetess, despite her survival in the system of man, is a metaphysical realist, and a rebel that refuses to bow down to the vanity of society. She is devoted to humanity, a fact which renders her a super human. The last line in ‘Take me home’ was a call to return home to the realm of salvation, as life on earth is quite a horrible experience for a higher being. It was an emotional poem, in which the soul yearns to return to the heavenly realm. In ‘Conflicted’ I was blown away by the striking following lines:
‘It feels like I’m about to give birth
Give birth to a clouded second earth’
It was a wonderful way for the poetess to express her melancholy mood, but her powerful tone suggests that she has a divine faculty and even an apocalyptic connection. Here is where poetry becomes prophetic and supreme. The mention of home later in the poem, once more imply as for the metaphysical rank of her soul. It was a brilliant poem despite the final confessions of apprehension and fear. My favorite poems in this book were ‘Angry’, ‘How low’ and ‘The Boy’. In ‘The Boy’ there was a grand message which is adverse to the belief in divine intervention. That was simply a great realization of the truth, as many people fails to understand it. The poetess realized that her only way out of the abyss of darkness can occur with an individual intervention of her own self. Her altruism won’t help her; she needs to realize that selfishness is not always the enemy. One has to save oneself. It was simply a superb poem of self realization through agony. ‘Angry’ was simply the best rebellious poem in this poem. The poetess is an advocate of higher of individualism, and her anger is in fact liberating. Moreover, her seemingly loss of situation has to do with the low gravity of human society. I felt for her rebellious spirit because she was right. Her convictions were aligned with the balance of justice. Her unique individualism is not appreciated and that is a natural cause for frustration. For me, however, the best poem in this book was ‘How low’ because the final line was an expression of a doubt, and yet the poetess came out stronger with this soul feeding collection of poetry. Paradoxically, the poetess meant how high she can soar, and I feel that her creativity will definitely make a difference in the world. Poets are the true moral leaders of society. Sarah Fairbairn is the evidence of such a proclamation. Her way to bloom, however, requires light, water, and a good soil. I truly hope that her family, friends, and society will accept her for who she really is: a volcanic poetess of justice and righteousness. She is truly wearing the garment of a literary sage and a fair judge.
Additional characteristics and epithets: Honest, sensible, diffusing, ethical, straightforward, temperamental, sensitive, critical, admonisher, emotional, rebellious, spiritual guide, judgmental, epic, humorous, divine, veracious, celestial and sentimental.