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Linda Lerner

The Elephants Are Asking
by Karen Neuberg
Glass Lyre Press LLC, 2018
P.O. Box 2693
Glenview, IL 60025
on line at www.GlassLyre Press.com,
Trade Paperback, 24 pp. $12.00.

Karen Neuberg can “choose not to look” but it’s “impossible (for her) “not to see” what is happening to our planet. And, because of how exquisitely crafted these poems are, with an economy of strong language, she makes us see, and more than that, want to do something about the situation. Moving from a philosophical calm to an enraged outburst --“Now. Dammit!..” The time for “complacency” and “Weeping “is long past.

Neuberg never falls into the easy trap of over explaining; she edges close enough to what the elephants cannot ask to what the reader cannot avoid doing. And, in case we still haven’t gotten the point, lists eleven facts leading to “Thousands killed, millions displaced by storm-caused floods around the globe/ overturning tranquility,” (“Climate Lag Time”) building to the slow nuclear catastrophe seen in: “Perpetuity:” “Whoever remains will hear the stories…”

Her desperation to do something to halt what is happening reaches its strongest emotional pitch in, “If all I have is a teaspoon” to repeatedly fill with water to put out a fire, she’ll do it, to “(Help) the greening to return.”

With the use of the “I—we” in Call to” she is speaking both as herself, and us when she suggests that we must get beyond just coping. Even as she tries to persuade us, Neuberg suspects that we are already there. Now, we just have to, “Dammit” do something.

We can start by getting this book in which what is being said, and the poets use of language and metaphor coalesce to produce an unforgettable collection of poems.