Review by Jane Berg

Ouvre ton vase,

Laisse moi verser le nectar, 

De l’amour.

Open your jar,

Let me pour the nectar, 

Of Love. 

Reading Sophie Foucher’s Alchemy of Love is to be filled to brimming with all that is ‘Amour, Amour’. In simple lines of pure feeling these ‘30 poems and dreams about love’ challenge us to leave our troubles behind and enter Foucher’s vision of equanimity.

The English poems are paired with French, Foucher’s mother tongue, and accompanied by the poet’s paintings. The illustrations steeped in nature and elemental symbolism are equally as pleasing as the poetry, giving sense of playful synergythroughout. 

We are offered a sweeping view of Foucher’s psyche as shecontemplates her beloved’s innate paradoxes, their distant but entwined spirits, desire and truth, freedom and forgiveness.

Set me free, I want to create wonders,

To live near you in the tree of stars,

Where all our wishes are gifts for humanity, 

All our smiles can spread into the sky,

Her preface tells how this balanced perspective was hard won after heartbreak and “months of turbulent reflections”. Finding reprieve on a balcony facing the sea in Koh Phangan, Thailand,and inspired by prints from Picasso and Matisse in her room Foucher’s writes: 

This creative process dissolved the effect of the physical pain and was a medium for expressing my perception of love to the world.

Although there are hints of an exotic locale this is not a travelogue of self-discovery. We are always in the poet’s inner universe, “with innocent characters expressing Love and living in a mystical reality”.  

Spiritualism abounds, and many of the poems read like meditations from a sage.

Yin is in Yang,

And within Yin is Yang,

We must flow like water,

An attitude of no control,

Because the storm will exhaust itself. 

Sincere mantras perhaps informed by the study of Yoga and Ayurveda Foucher began after leaving her career as a fashion buyer in Paris to become a Yoga Therapist. Indeed, a sense of renunciation and transformation is present throughout, as in the poem ‘Blooming / Épanouissement’ 

Devenir une fleur demande beaucoup de courage,

To become a flower takes a lot of courage,

So does, I imagine, the unambiguous openness and quest of authenticity we find here. Foucher writes about these archetypal emotions with force and clarity reminding us that “simplicity is key”.

Purchase your copy of Alchemy of Love.

Jane Berg is a writer and photographer from Wilderness, South Africa. Her poetry has appeared in Badilisha Poetry X-change, the Silver Birch Press blog, The Drabble, and The Poetry Pea Journal, among others. She can usually be found tweeting haiku and micro-poetry @nowiammyself

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