Discover the Sublime Beauty of Everyday Life in Ellie Rees’s ‘Modest Raptures’ – A Poetic Journey into the Extraordinary in the Ordinary


In a world that often races by, obsessed with the grand and extraordinary, Ellie Rees’s poetry collection, Modest Raptures, stands as a testament to the profound beauty that can be found in the quiet, the mundane, and the everyday. Within its pages, Rees skillfully invites readers to slow down, observe, and reflect on the subtle moments that often go unnoticed. This collection is a journey into the heart of the ordinary, revealing the extraordinary within.

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

The title itself, Modest Raptures, suggests that the poems within will uncover moments of rapture, not in grand gestures or dramatic events, but in the modest and unassuming corners of life. This theme resonates with the idea that there is beauty in simplicity, that moments of transcendence can be found in the most unexpected places.

Rees opens the collection with the poem Modest Raptures setting the tone for what follows. The opening lines, “It’s not Teresa’s ecstasy / as the angel stabs her breast,” immediately challenge the reader’s expectation of grandeur. Instead, the poet directs our attention to the ordinary, to “wind-bitten primroses found under a tree” and “blaring sunlight bouncing off the hedgerows.” These are the moments of rapture that Rees seeks to illuminate, the subtle experiences that hold their own kind of ecstasy.

The Art of Observation

At the heart of the collection is the art of observation. Rees demonstrates a keen eye for detail, a willingness to linger over moments that others might pass by. In Findings, she explores the concept of creating art from found objects, much like her own poetry. The title itself suggests that these are not creations but rather discoveries, much like the moments she uncovers in her poems. Each poem becomes a trinket or a found object, unique and precious in its own right.

Rees herself becomes a kind of collector, gathering moments and fragments of life to present to the reader. Her poems are an offering, a sharing of the beauty she has found in the world. In this sense, the poet becomes a guide, encouraging us to see the world with fresh eyes.

Temporal Reflections

The passage of time is a central theme in Modest Raptures. Rees explores the transitory nature of moments, the way they slip through our fingers like water. In Taking Down the Tree, she captures the bittersweet feeling of removing Christmas decorations, signaling the end of a festive season. The poem evokes a sense of nostalgia, a longing for the past, and a reminder of the impermanence of joy.

The idea of time is also explored in A Curlew Creeps, where the curlew’s presence is juxtaposed with the passage of the seasons. The curlew, with its beak “too big for its bulk,” becomes a symbol of the relentless march of time, a reminder of the changing world around us.

The Interplay of Light and Shadow

Throughout, Rees frequently explores the interplay between light and shadow. This interplay occurs both in physical and metaphorical terms. In poems like A Place Where Echoes Rebound and Just the Sun, she examines how changes in lighting can trasform our perception of the world.

In A Place Where Echoes Rebound, the poet reflects on the stillness that follows a fall. The imagery of an echo’s roar being swallowed whole suggests a sense of finality and silence. However, Rees also suggests that there are moments when echoes rebound, when light is shed on memories, and the past repeats itself. Here, light and shadow become metaphors for the way we remember and reflect on our own experiences.

Connection with Nature

Nature is a recurring motif in Modest Raptures. Rees uses the natural world as a backdrop and often as a metaphor for the human experience. In Anticipation for instance, she juxtaposes the busy lives of birds with the stillness of the human observer. This contrast highlights the difference between the natural world, where life unfolds according to its own rhythms, and our often hectic and structured lives.

In Summer Solstice, Rees captures the beauty of nature in all its splendor. The poem paints a vivid picture of a summer day, with its “waves of sycamore” and “ripples of larks.” Nature here is not just a setting but a living, breathing presence that interacts with the poet and the reader alike.

Final Thoughts

Modest Raptures by Ellie Rees is a collection that thrives on subtlety and nuance. It encourages readers to slow down, savor the quiet moments, and appreciate the play of light, the changing of seasons, and the connections between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Rees’ artful observations and skillful use of language remind us that there is profound beauty to be found

in the modest and everyday aspects of our lives.

As the Editor-in-Chief of The Broken Spine, I find Modest Raptures to be a thought-provoking and deeply resonant collection that aligns with our commitment to celebrating quality art and literature. Ellie Rees’ ability to evoke powerful emotions from the seemingly mundane reaffirms the importance of poetry in capturing the essence of the human experience. Her collection serves as a reminder that the world is brimming with beauty for those who take the time to look, listen, and feel. Through her poetry, Rees encourages us all to embark on our own journeys of discovery, finding the sublime in the ordinary moments of our lives.

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