In Sapphire and the Hollow Bone, Hayes offers poems that celebrate nature’s resilience and the inherent potential of the human spirit to heal; poems that honour family and the life cycles of our earthly habitat. Working for three decades in health care and as a volunteer on hospice wards, Hayes sat vigil for friends and family in their final hours. Grief accompanied her on her journeys around the world where she experienced sacred healing rituals and rites of passage. Intuition led her to the Corycean Caves and sacred ruins of Delphi, the monasteries of Meteora and the Greek hammams of Mytilene, the Peace Stupa of Pa’ia on Maui, the Fulni-ô ceremonies and the Temple of Good Will in Brazil. These poems are elegies for those who have gone and offer companionship for those who remain.
Through the aesthetics of free verse, elegies, and ghazals, Diana Hayes’ poems in Sapphire and the Hollow Bone speak to the earth. Sing a mourning song. The cradle of loam fading into indigo memory. Free of fence lines. Salty hair. Seeking the womb of water. Apple blossoms. Wild strawberries. In a shallow grave. Etched on your smile like a promise. The way we know about loss. Sargassum. Bull kelp. The Salish Sea. Kiss the stone. Ask, to what world have I returned? Hayes is a powerfully original voice. I was completely captivated by this new collection.
— Ilona Martonfi, Poet, Editor and Literary Curator, Montreal, Quebec, author of The Tempest, Salt Bride, The Snow Kimono
Diana Hayes’ seventh book, Sapphire and the Hollow Bone, elegiac, tender, lyrical, addresses a daughter’s deep love for her mother and her deep sorrow at that mother’s passing, noting the limitations of all things. This collection is “one more cup of mercy.” Read it for its clear depictions of grief, for its poetic language, for its heart-breaking beauty.
—Arleen Paré, author of Time Out of Time, First, Earl Street, Lake of Two Mountains
Sapphire and the Hollow Bone, by Diana Hayes, ranges widely, moving through the sadness and dignity of dying, shifting us to blocks of poetic narrative, and ending with the beautiful demands of ghazals. Hayes uses the music of myth and the mystical to bring us to the sheer curtain between us and the natural world, which she refers to as “holy earth and the wild absence of time”. And she parts the curtain, by paying full attention to nature and its relentless motion so that we can occasionally stop time, marvel at change, and see.
—Patrick Friesen, author of Rekoning, Songen, A Short History of Crazy Bones
This insightful collection might be called, “Meditations, observations and affirmations of a beautiful pagan.” The writing is precise, and the words transport the reader to a quiet place of reverie. Love, the journey into the soul.
—Sheri-D Wilson, author of A Love Letter to Emily C, The Book of Sensations, Goddess Gone Fishing for a Map of the Universe
These are wise and deep poems grounded in the beauty and awe of the physical world but find much more than mere physicality. Nature is foregrounded and triggers a poetic adventure that helps these poems cohere through various allusions to natural specificities. There is grief here too and longing for what is lost or about to be lost. But there is also the range from lyric to prose poems to Ghazals. In all, she celebrates human life but remains ever aware of the fragility of such life. In the final section, the Ghazals for Phyllis Webb, Hayes pays homage to a poetic icon and finds much inspiration in Webb’s poems and paintings. The poems in this book may travel from ancient Greece to present day and even be rooted at times in Salt Spring Island or places farther away but through them all her poetic voice persists. Read each poem carefully as you will be transformed by much more than what is written.
—Robert Hilles, author of Don’t Hang Your Soul on That, From God’s Angle and The Pink Puppet