Sea of Strangers

by Lang Leav

Read time: about 7 minutes

Sometimes I am caught between poetry and prose, like two

lovers I can’t decide between.

Prose says to me, let’s build something long and lasting.

Poetry takes me by the hand, and whispers,

come with me, let’s get lost for awhile.

Lang Leav came into my life with Love and Misadventure when a dear and now distant friend gifted me a copy of the book as a parting gift. She was someone I had great trust in when it came to books.

Then came along The Universe of Us which is by far my favorite collection of poems by the author. In Universe of Us we see Lang Leav cumulating the whole universe to the expression of the emotions. There came some advices, some sorrow and a lot of lost love. Sea of Strangers follows the same language as Universe and Us but it feels more mature.

Cover: Sea of Strangers

Cover page

‘Sea of strangers’ itself is a sad title. I liked the cover that goes with it even though the color cobalt blue is not very appealing. There are words scattered around but what you notice is the sad girl on the cover. I would say purpose well achieved.

Content

There are people who want to live on the land and there are those who like to swim in the sea. There is another sort that likes to live on the seashore never to fully let the land suck them in and the sea to overpower them. This collection of poems are written for those who have lived through love and have survived as has the poet herself.

Love is not rosy. Lang Leav asks you to beware of the boy who has asked for your name. He is eventually going to break your heart.

If a boy asks you for your name, don’t give it to him. He will say it back to you in a voice like gravel and honey, and you will crave his hands all rough and sweet. But you’re not the kind of girl who builds her house from sticks; you are a fortress, stubborn and strong. Do not give away the keys to the kingdom to anyone less than a king.

Lang Leav talks about love. All kinds of love. Passionate and slowly consuming kind. She talks about loss. The sudden jerk and the one you cope up with even years after it has left you. And if you like the state of being in love she can also tell you something about contentment.

There was a time when I thought I wanted more. When I saw the sky as a soaring highway and the world as one big

carousel. But those yearnings have grown so distant, ebbed so far away from me, they feel as though they belong to

someone else. All I want now is a rainy day, a roaring fire, you and I talking about how quickly the time has gone.

The author lives by sea in a small house most of the poems have sea in common. There are people experiencing sea of emotions. There are those who imagine a life by the sea. There are those who hang around somewhere between sky and the sea in the vacuum of nothingness.

They say that those who live by the ocean are waiting for something. Someone must have decided long ago to put

me by the sea. To live each moment by the light of the stars.

There are some advices for the girls who are not respected in the relationship.

Leave him, let him go. Don’t be the crazy ex-girlfriend or the shoulder to cry on.

You’re more than just an ego boost,

a story he can tell someone he’s trying to impress. Just walk away with your head held high and don’t give him another

second of your time. I know you love him so much that every step is killing you.

But this is the moment you’ll always

look back on as the day you put yourself first. Go and make something beautiful of your life and I promise you, one day

you’ll forget he was ever there.

There is some advice for the girl you were ten years back.

See that turn just up ahead? That’s the place where love will meet you, with arms so warm it will melt away the winter in an instant. And then, it will be summer for a very long time.

Each poem by Lang Leav fuses sea as nature and power with the emotions and so well that each poem resonates with you.

The collections seems very similar to ‘The Universe and Us’ but it is rather mature. Lang Leav goes one step ahead and tell you what wiring means to her.

Here are some snippets into what you may find inside. This collection is not to be missed!

Too Far In

I look for you, the way I was taught to look both ways when crossing the road.

Uptight and wary, bracing myself for

something I know could break me. I loved you, in the way I’d only known love.

Before I learned to hold back. When I thought everyone loved with their eyes closed and hearts wide open.

After you, I learned to lock my doors at night, pull the curtain shut. Be wary of strangers with taut arms and sad

eyes. Who want to spill their secrets to you like the ocean, who pull back once you find yourself too far in.

I miss you, like a drowsy child begging for sleep; like a bird who almost made it to the sun. I ache for you like the searing

memory of flight.

Borrowed Love

Kiss him if you want to;

you are treading on

sacred ground.

Anywhere you go,

I have already been.

And when you put your body

next to his,

you’ll find the places

I mapped out long before

he knew you.

And when he calls your name,

know I was the one

who put up those walls.

You should know by now

that you cannot build

cities on cities.

Kiss him if you want to;

But keep this in mind—

you are a tourist here.

I was his first love

and I’ll be his last.

Every Feeling

There was a time when I felt everything there was to feel with you. From blinding rage to bitter jealousy; searing

love to utter despair. And then, the worst one of all—sweet, irrational hope—like a hypnotic melody leading me to the

edge of a cliff. Here I am on the other side, the baptism of every human emotion. What happens after you feel everything there is to feel? Somehow, there is a sense

of comfort in knowing nothing will ever hit me quite as hard again. Nothing will ever be as beautiful, but neither will anything hurt as much.

Language

The language is crisp and to the point. Some beautiful strung together. Just beautiful.

Good points

I like the cover page. It has melancholic vibe to it. There is a lot of sadness on the cover. The poetry and prose inside draws all you attention and holds it till the end. You will not be able to drop the book before you finish it.

Bad points

Some poems are better than the rest as is the case with most of the collection. I wish I had read more about juvenile kind of love, that has not been shattered yet. This particular collection came out to be too mature for my taste.

Overall

As is the case with all of Lang Leav’s poetry, this collection is beautiful too. I am glad I got around to reading it sooner than later.

Whom do I recommend this to

This collection is for those who love to read a series of beautiful words that make sense and linger. Lang Leav has blessing when it comes to writing. It should be appreciated by all those who respect good writing.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com