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Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert

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Contingencies A Third Collection of Poetry
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert   

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Books by Sharmagne Leland-St. John-Sylbert
· Silver Tears and Time
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Publisher:  Quill and Parchment Press wiht WynterBlue Publishing Canada Inc ISBN-10:  0976424428


Copyright:  June 2008 ISBN-13:  9780976424420

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A book of poetry about people. places and things, feelings and more.

Contingencies follows the format of her first two collections. It reads like a momoire of places the poet has travelled and the people she met or was touched by along the way.

53 pages of poetry 6 pages of haiku, a song lyric (Just One More Tomorrow)

ending with an autobiographical  prose piece called First Date.

The dedication says it all!

The cover is an original  watercolour of a still life with flyrod,  reels, and other equipment needed for a day on the river..

Not only did the poet paint the watercolour, but she also built the flyrod depicted, tied the flies,  caught the fish and later cooked it  in the fireplace over a Tuscan grill. 


In Azcapotzalco,
I remember mostly
their dark eyes,
their round, brown faces,
Mexican bowl haircuts,
and then,
the outstretched, dirty palms,
on the end of spindly arms
tiny hands,
with ragged fingernails.

In Welligama,
on palm fringed beaches
they encircled us.
Their dry, cracked lips begging
for a twopence.
"One two piece, one two piece,"
They chanted.
Clad mummy-like in rags,
gray from the mud of streets,
The filth of poverty—
Their smiles engaging.

I have seen them in Cairo,
near the City of the Dead.
Where the deceased "live" better
than the living.
Hauntingly beautiful children,
maimed, crippled, scarred
by their parents
in order to elicit pity,
hence silver and copper coins,
from the rich American tourists.

In Lima, in front of the Cathedral
which held the catafalques
and Pizarro's tomb,
a gypsy woman tried to hand me
a baby, pleading,
"Un regalo, un regalo"
As I reached out for "her gift"
you held me back.
"Don't take it," you hissed.
"She'll run away."
I stood there,
in the shadow
of the basilica
in sombre half-light,
in the cobbled streets
of this foreign city—
my barren heart,
my fallow womb
needing the baby,

But you pulled me away.

Professional Reviews

Chance Happenings
Sharmagne Leland-St. John¿s natural ability for self-revelation is reflected generously throughout her collections of poetry. Like her first two collections, her newest book, Contingencies, invites the reader to travel alongside her through passages of time, foreign adventures, past memories and heartfelt relationships, revealing one remarkable woman. One can¿t help but be deeply moved by the sincerity of her poetic voice and through her guided imagery to find oneself revealed somewhere within. Contingencies is recommended as a wonderful addition for all personal and professional libraries.

Karen Schwartz
Canadian Poet

The Survival Skills of Life
When I look for poetry books the first thing I notice is the cover picture followed by the title the author chose for the collection. When I found 'Contingencies' I quickly turned to read the poetry titles. As I scanned the poems I knew it was a book I wanted to have in my collection. Everything about the book made me want to own it so I could savor the words of each poem written with deep feeling by the author. 'Contingencies' does not disappoint any of the senses.

Judith Witherow
Native American Poet/Writer

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