Welcome to the South
Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia: A Life in Poems
Welcome to Mississippi. Watch your step as you enter the open carriage to take this tour along with this reviewer and author Patricia Neely Dorsey as she opens her heart, thoughts and inner feelings to you and everyone about this magnificent state: Mississippi. Welcome to the SOUTH!
First stop as you look outside is Southern Living: Can you see the sign? As I relate the author’s words in her wonderfully written poems you will become enveloped from the start. Sensory poems filled with nouns, verbs and adjectives that colorfully describe the author’s life in the south.
You can hear the creaks of the rocking chairs, and smell the fried okra and corn. You can even envision her standing near the lake and feel her love for Southern Life. Sound of Summer and Summer Night- close your eyes: Listen to the birds singing, open them and watch the fireflies flitting around. Hear the sound of night!
The author creates a mental image so clear, so vivid that you feel the excitement, embrace the beauty of Mississippi. Describing the morning, her love of nature, local color, the Cat and Magnolia Tree rounding out this first part of our tour. But, Southern Man and Mississippi Man both paint a picture most people who have never been to the South might not appreciate of understand until they read these two poems. These two poems seem to be dedicated to her husband, son and just how she sees them.
Soul Food Restaurant really made me hungry. I could eat fried foods and the good stuff described in this poem. Mouth watering foods delivered hot and crisp to your very own booth in this restaurant. What more could you ask for? You can feel the love.
Our second stop on our carriage ride is the Country: This section is titled: Country Living. The flowers, the dew on the leaves, dirt roads and the cows in the pasture are just some of the images you can picture driving along in the country. No pollution, crisp clean fresh air, relaxed atmosphere, stress free, sounds ideal. You can see and hear the world through the author’s eyes.
Author Patricia Dorsey takes the reader on an inside picturesque tour of country life down south. The mouth-watering breakfast, the simple ways to have fun, the old fashioned cures for what ales you and more. This section concludes with Preaching Sunday and Baptismal Sunday described Southern Style.
Our next stop is more personal. Sit back and relax as you hear the words and take the tour of her Childhood Memories followed by Family History, Personal History and concluding with Intimacies.
Childhood Memories are precious as our outstanding author and poet enlightens and shares her many special moments with her friends, childhood memories of Christmas, filled with presents, gifts and trying to sneak a peek at Santa. My favorite in this section is Nature Lovers and the last three lines says it all: Addressed to her son: “ To my only son; I want him to notice all of God’s works, and appreciate everyone. If only everyone would do just that. The beauty and wonders of the world are so unique and special we all need to stop, listen, look and open our eyes to Nature’s Beauty and the glory it bestows upon each one of us.
The poems focus on the nature, the many comparisons or metaphors she uses to describe what she sees as the in the poem My Dream and the next Double Life. Writing about her favorite department store reminded me of the Colony Shop in the South Bronx where I bought my favorite outfits. How could anyone growing up forget the good old party lines that my mom and grandmother would tell me about and the gossip they heard while waiting to make a call.
Next stop Family History, Personal History. As you take the inside tour of her thoughts you will hear her speak about her parents, feel the inner pride, love and understand the many struggles she and her family faced together and withstood. Her descriptions of Women of Color in the poem Shades of Lovely present the author’s true feelings about being proud of who she is and much more. I really love Little Miss Perfect, which totally describes me as a child never doing anything wrong in school, at home or anywhere else. Finally, I can identify with the author when reading the poem Bookworm that so aptly describes her love of books passed down to her by her mom the same love of reading that my mom passed to me.
Our tour ends with Intimacies and Summing Things Up. What a beautiful day so far filled with sunshine, crisp clean air and a special open carriage ride just for you to see the sights, smell the trees, appreciate nature and hear the sounds of Mississippi. Listen to the music play, hear the High School Band play and sit back and enjoy the final phase of your tour. Un Domestic Diva- so me in every way- not a cook or a sewer she states: A Poet! My favorite in this part of the ride is Avid Reader, which expresses the author’s true feelings and love for Mississippi. You need to read those four poems yourself to hear her inner voice, emotions, and joys living in Mississippi.
Replete with vivid descriptions of her life, family, friends, hopes, passions and desires this is one unique, special and heartfelt book of poems that tell their own individual stories. This is one book that I am going to keep on my nightstand and read on every evening just to make me smile and wish I was there to experience the tour, take in the scenery, meet the people, enjoy the food and appreciate the history in person.
Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia: A Life in Poems should be in every public, church and school library. These are great poems for children to learn about this amazing state, the country, the people and the food. But, most of all it helps the reader appreciate and understand how precious your childhood memories are, the values and teachings of your parents, clergy and teachers plus the importance of embracing what you have. In the words of an unknown poet:
“Diamonds are nice,
And so are pearls;
But, there’s nothing on earth
Like a Mississippi Girl.