Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Friday, 11 April 2003

"What the Wind Scatters" by Margaret Moore (Lapwing, 2003)

A pamphlet with as much poetry as many a book has. Not only that but the poems get straight into their stride. Here are 4 beginnings

  • Formal Discipline
    With hurricane lamps to light and hens to feed
    you'd pin the pattern of a winter tree
    flat to my mind's floor

  • The Fair at Cushendall
    That evening there was no risk of being asked
    to stun a cod or trace the dotted Plough,
    put paid to a googly or note the fall of cards.

  • Hope Street
    Cycling home from compulsory tennis
    as the girls of Hope Street practised bounce-kick routines
    One, two, three O'Leary...
  • Traycloth
    A doll's altar cover, large enough
    for modest celebration
    of lazy Daisies, breakfasting late,
    making the most of their monthlies

An object, remembered phrase or idiom embeds these pieces in an identifiable past out of which a character study emerges but without the punchline morality that often mars this type of poem. Politics isn't tackled head-on though Peace figures. There are self-portraits, portraits of friends and relatives - and Thomas Gray gets a look in.

Poems like Autumn though not similarly anchored hit the ground running ("Bye Jule! Bye Gus!"), reward the attentive reader with phrases like "sacrement of the sandcastle" and end well - "Not too late, if we're lucky, before our final admission/to a silent white order"

There's no end-rhyme and similes are scarce. There are few short sentences and most of them are spoken. The sentences often run for several lines with the odd poem comprising a single sentence.

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