I must admit, before I was introduced to Ashley Jane’s debut book of poetry and prose, Love, Lies and Lullabies (released on July 30, 2018), I had not yet had the privilege of indulging in her work; but after opening the cover, which is adorned with raw yet beautifully soft imagery, I am an instant fan.
Ashley opens this collection with the lines, “We painted with words, immortalized our souls with ink, sold our hearts to the masses,” a brilliant tagline sure to entice any admirer of words. We are then whisked into the whimsical realm of romance, where we experience both the beauty of the fall and the not-so-elegant reality of relationships in the book’s first section, Love.
In this section, Ashley brings us along the journey of a wounded heart that once settled for far less than deserved until coming to the realization that everything she ever wanted was right before her very eyes. Ashley describes the “quick descent” one experiences when falling in love and puts perfectly into words what we feel in a new relationship, when struggling to find balance between the urge to stay and the instinct to run- a battle of the mind and the heart that anyone who has ever been scorned by love can relate to. But in pieces like Fragmented Heart we experience the patchwork art of careful hands willing to gently put the pieces of a once shattered heart back together.
I practically fell in love myself when I read the poem Lesson in Love, which reads:
“You hold me under velvet skies,
tracing each of my scars
and reminding me
that I am stronger because of them,
leaving me enough of those shadows
to rebuild myself
with bits of love.”
And although in Love is Messy, Ashley says “we try to define it, but it is not meant to be defined,” I believe she describes Love rather perfectly in this aptly titled section.
In the second section, Lies, we relive the pain of betrayal that adheres to our bones like mortar to the bricks we then stack high around our broken hearts. As Ashley shares with us the misadventures of seeking happily-ever-after in fraudulent fantasies portrayed by “actors who use hearts for a stage,” we are reminded to take caution in the quest for love. She perfectly explains the way we lose ourselves when we become wrapped up in the pretty little lies we allow ourselves to believe against our inner knowing. I love the way Ashley reclaims her power by learning to “filter through the fallacies” in Self-Taught and then seals the deal by scrawling the lying muse’s name into her “little black book” and tossed away the key. My inner goddess cheered with joy as I celebrated that victory!
Lullabies, the last section of this incredible compilation, serves as a beautiful reminder that our inner light is always ready to illuminate the darkness when we are. Its dreamy vibe is filled with magic and mystery, the moon and stars, and an oceanic sky of endless possibilities to soothe the soul.
Ashley Jane’s Love, Lies and Lullabies is a must have for every poetry collection.
Love, Lies and Lullabies is available at Amazon.