Water, wood, metal, stone, salt, cotton -- these are some of the everyday talismans that Maureen Hynes encounters on her journey through Harm's Way. A soldier's gold fountain pen, like the war itself, lies buried for decades; the corrugated metal and glass shattered across the Australian outback teach her a new way to look at landscape; the silk of an old parachute recalls her first lesson in longing, and even the ribbed cotton of new undershirts sparks a poignant grief.
In this, her remarkably deft second collection of poems, Hynes takes us travelling on a road signposted with the dangers and fears we encounter in the larger world and which intersects with our most private moments and memories. But Harm's Way is also a shared journey fueled by a meticulous search for hope, compassion and courage, for "the molecular level of kindness." The intensity of our personal engagement with the world and with others, suggests Hynes, both heightens the journey's menace and redeems its pain.