No Bridle, No Bit, No Reins by Mary Ann Morefield REVIEW
A poetry book about horses that somehow ends up being about a lot more.
“in a world at the same time
beautiful and broken”
I think this quote really sums up our world at present very well. It also sums up this collection well, in the sense that the book does a good job of painting a beautiful picture of the world, particularly nature, yet in other places it draws attention to some of the world’s problems. Reading it is a thought provoking yet, optimistic experience, which I shall discuss more shortly.
No Bridle, No Bit, No Reins is a book of poetry that primarily explores the author’s love of horses, her experiences of living on a farm, her experience of writing and her thoughts and observations about the wider world, both its beauty and its troubles.
What’s evident from the content of these poems, particularly those near the start of the book, is that Mary Ann Morefield has a very intimate relationship with horses. I did horseriding for a couple of years when I was younger, so reading about Mary Ann Morefield’s horse riding experiences brought back many fond memories of horses. Mary Ann Morefield loves horses and that’s something I can say with great surety as her love of horses radiates from the pages. Many of these poems are very much love letters to horses, which were touching to read.
Also evident was her familiarity with farm life. It says in her biography at the end of the book that she spent much of her life living on a farm and I don’t have any doubts about that. Her descriptions of farm life were captivatingly detailed. For most of us, particularly as someone who lives in a town which is pretty much surrounded by other cities, I don’t get to see much open countryside. Therefore, it was extremely soothing to get lost in Mary Ann Morefield’s descriptions of her farm and the rural world at large. It’s so easy to forget how spectacular our world is and so this book served as a very pleasant reminder.
There were times where this book felt a little tedious and repetitive in terms of theme and content, though that may have much to do with the fact that while I as a reader love beautiful descriptions and imagery, I only have a certain attention span for such things, I tend to prefer them in small portions. I also felt like there was a bit too much for my liking of what I am of an old enough age and know enough about literature to assume are old sayings, but am not quite old enough to associate them to a time or place. However, it is evident both from her writing and from her biography, that Mary Ann Morefield is a fairly old lady, therefore I feel her target audience is most likely readers who are considerably older than I am and a lot further on their journey through life.
Nature and horses aside, the other thing that stands out to me in this collection is the extent to which Mary Ann Morefield talks about being a writer. Writing fiction and poetry about being a writer seems to be discouraged in the publishing industry at large, which I think is a shame, because certainly for me as a writer, I really enjoy reading other creative people poetically express their thoughts and experiences on the creative process and life as a creative person in general. Now, I suppose if all writers felt like they could do that all the time, it may be a bit annoying to readers who aren’t writers.
It’s a very strange concept to think about, but I guess it’s reasonable to assume that most writers have an interest in writing, because it’s a bit of a strange thing to dedicate much of your time to if you really don’t like it, yet not all readers are writers, therefore it’s reasonable to assume that a good proportion of them may not like it too much if we writers were all talking about our creative experiences all the time. But to return to the point, Mary Ann Morefield does liberally fill this collection with musings on her creative process and life as a writer and I found them a highlight of the collection.
No Bridle, No Bit, No Reins was a very pleasant book that contains an array of enriching poetry primarily on the subjects of horses, the natural world and writing, that I think any one with an interest in poetry and/or any of the above themes, may find of particular interest.