This lively poetry wanders the forest of the mind, battling to shine light on unconditional love and the politics of woodland creatures.
Poetry was something I always kept private. I started writing in middle school, wrote more in high school, some in college. As I got older, I wrote less and less, until it was long forgotten. In 2020, so many things changed, but one of the best differences for me was that poetry reentered my life. I wrote 3-4 poems a week that year to help myself through recovered memories. After a few months, I made plans to publish my work and decided how to sort my poems into books.
I wanted my first book, Song of the Leviathan, to focus on the love story of my life. My husband Jesse and I had several rocky years before we worked through things and got married. Leviathan tells that story… mostly. My new book, The Opera of Peace, focuses on family dynamics. It shows a lot of happenings behind-the-scenes, events or arguments that added complications to my relationships.
The title is inspired by a short story Jesse wrote called “The Opera.” And it just so happened that the word opera fit so well as a metaphor for my idea of finding peace. Peace isn’t empty or quiet, it’s full and harmonious. That kind of peace takes a lot of work. That’s the struggle of this book.
In these noisy sounds.
I cannot snooze.
I’m down to
Without a doubt,
I’m hopeless about
All I can think is
About these noisy sounds
My restless mind
After a day
Of messing up
In lots of ways.
I call out to my mom and say,
“I’ll never snooze again this way.
How can I sleep
With all these heaps
Drowning out relief?
I’m only losing
So much sleep.”
She leans into my door and says,
“There’s one thing you can do to rest.
Open your ears to understand
Cicadas are not from your land.
The noise they make is not for us.
They play their very own chorus.
So close your eyes and fall asleep
And find the melody they seek.
To still your mind,
And let their kind
Play out their own sweet beat.”
The forest of the mind is a well-known metaphor. This book is well-suited for it. Where Song of the Leviathan showed emotional struggles, The Opera of Peace is about mental struggles. Dealing with strong opinions, manipulation, gaslighting, situations where it becomes a battle to hold onto who you are or what you want. So I embraced forest imagery throughout, including characterizing people as animals, which was a great way to also convey their personalities in a short amount of time.
These books are part of a trilogy called Flowing in the Trenches. The third book, Composing Ripples, releases July 2023.
Rebekah Teller grew up in the wild backwoods of southern Missouri. Raised by crawdads and water gliders, she became fascinated with language at an early age. One day, while stumbling through a cave barefoot, she rescued a lost storyteller, who ensnared her heart and taught her to speak.
Her love affair with poetry is long and sordid. Writing influences include Richard Bach, Daniel Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, and Shel Silverstein.