Tag Archive: strength


Wearied and worn,
strength reaches high
Reaching solace,
hastens the need
Fall to believe,
soothe broken bones

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Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an, China
Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

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c.b.w. 2013

Book Review: Lupa

LupaLupa by Marie Marshall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jelena is a displaced soul wandering the streets of Rome. While her memory clings to the horrors of the Bosnian War, she tries to find her way to a new a life. Likewise, a woman called Lupa, tries to escape her past by surrendering herself to the fighting ranks of the gladiator class in Ancient Rome. Both stories play out simultaneously as each woman struggles to find her strength and defeat her demons.

When Jelena meets the charismatic Vittorio, she finds herself trusting him despite her usual standoffish approach to strangers. He eventually takes her to an archeological site that he oversees and the dig yields artifacts that possibly belong to a female gladiator. Jelena is instantly intrigued by the idea of a woman strong enough to hold her own in a fight.

Meanwhile, Lupa signs her life over to the Lanista who trains her in the art of hand-to-hand combat. Her journey to fit in as the lone female and to prove herself among the others is the stuff of legend. She goes on to fight numerous battles where one by one, her opponents fall. However, the past is never far away, no matter how many enemies she defeats.

Jelena spends an inordinate amount of time helping Vittorio dig deeper into Rome’s past, but it’s not enough to distract her from the memories of torture, loss of family and friends, and the corruption of her innocence. Her despair is sometimes debilitating, but the spirit of Lupa encourages her to keep fighting for survival.

Marie Marshall captures two historical periods with realistic detail. The Bosnian War is one that is often forgotten, but Jelena’s story ensures the raw emotion of war wounds goes down as something real and heartbreaking. In addition, Marshall’s portrayal of Ancient Rome is vivid with the sheer violence of the gladiator games. Both time periods display the darker side of humanity, while Jelena and Lupa exist to defy the odds. Lupa means “she-wolf,” which is a distinctive characteristic for both women. They share a connection that cannot be broken, for each lives within the other.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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c.b.w. 2013

The War Within

The joust begins
spirits beware
Cracked pavement
eroding shores
The light cowers
where dark prevails
Crumbling towers
broken stones
Sorrow clings
where joy flees

The remains of St. Dunstan-in-the-East, London, c.b.w.

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c.b.w. 2012

The Resolute Path

Stones of ire
knick the spirit
Chasing faith
baiting fear
Lies abound
posing doubt

Stone pillars
fight the tide
Iron arches
hold the load
Steel rivets
bind my fate

Tower Bridge, London, June 2011, c.b.w.

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c.b.w. 2012

Gather Resilience

Break the hush
hear my cry
Cut the chains
sing me free
Fight the fear
call me bold
Take the past
give me now

Hyde Park, London, June 2011, c.b.w.

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c.b. 2012


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