REVIEW: Mary Ann Rivers’ LIVE, Or “Sweet For Salt” Time After Time

Live“Had we but world enough and time,/This coyness, lady, were no crime … Let us roll all our strength and all/Our sweetness up into one ball,/And tear our pleasures with rough strife/Through the iron gates of life:/Thus, though we cannot make our sun/Stand still, yet we will make him run.”  The poet, with an opening that warns of choices unmade, opportunities unseized, urges his love, his “mistress,” to make love, to love, to seize this moment right now, right here; for life and love are fleeting.  Carpe diem, LIVE, for tomorrow we may die.  Thus begins and ends one of Miss Bates’s favourite poems, Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” with its resignation to life’s ephemerality, “time’s wingèd chariot,” and in that urgency, that reminder of loss, its beauty.  Reading Mary Ann Rivers’ Live, first in The Burnside Series, Miss Bates remembered and thought about this beloved poem because Rivers’ novel calls up those questions and ends up in the same place: on time’s precipice where we dwell and make our lives.  Rivers’ has written a remarkable romance novel: beautifully, if obliquely, written; tormented as only youth can be; serious as only the un-ironic are; unabashed; explicitly sexual; yet, austere.  Continue reading; Miss Bates hopes she does this one justice