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Bricks and Ballads
ISBN: 978 1 857547 51 1
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 2004
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
It is the wild cranesbill
Seed stolen from the hedge.
It opens mouths of warm blue
White whispers at its edge.
As in this strange wet summer
The sodden, tame rose lists
It glimmers light. As rain itself
It stubbornly persists.
It is the wild cranesbill.
The lost are gone with you.
It neither owns nor saves us.
Its cups glow clearest blue.
Ballads are memorable. This book was finished when the poet was fifty, with too much to remember: the shadows of the greater world, the bulldozers down the street tearing through a Victorian school, the generosity of its founders, its green graceful bell tower and its nesting jackdaws turned to a cry in the air.
The bricks go off to salvage and are lost in other streets but the poems remain. Ballads are bare and brief; tried by time. They salvage but they sing, stubbornly. Their stories are sure: a woman in the kitchen, Handel at his illicit feast, the Russian dog heading for space. Shakespeare stops for breath on the stairs. Mithras is the milkman. There are cats and wild cranesbill. The poems nudge us on.
Edmund O'Connor, Chapman , issue 107, Summer 2005
Alison Brackenbury reflects on life and schooldays in Bricks and Ballads . While mulling over old science lessions is not exactly original, there is spareness and sublety here. read more
Jeremy Noel-Tod in the Daily Telegraph , 30 October 2004
'The "lyrical ballad" originates in the radical early poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge. read more
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