First off I’d like to own up and say I don’t read that much poetry – Wendy Cope and Wilfred Owen remain two of my favourites – so I don’t feel very knowledgeable about poetry and the current scene. However I do know what I like. However this collection from Maytree Press, Beekeeper by David Coldwell, which I received an e-arc to review, is very much to my liking.
Coincidentally Coldwell, like myself, lives in West Yorkshire, so I recognised the landscape he writes so vividly about in poems like ‘Out, out’ where he mentions Oxenhope and ‘Lumb Falls’ where he mentions the Calder river. I could easily imagine myself on chilly walks over those moors, sensing the mystery and history of the terrain and the echo of its ghosts walking beside me. Even the milestones become ‘changeling crayons,crumbling…’ under Coldwell’s eye and I will never look at a milestone in the same way again.
Coldwell clearly is a man who both reveres and acutely observes the landscape he walks in and the animals/birds/flora which inhabit it.
This collection draws on nature and immerses you in it. The language is gorgeous, awakening and is rich in the five senses and yet is accessible too. Indeed these poems are almost edible in their language and texture.
The grass smells of apple and vanilla (How the Light Falls); the kestrel in ‘From here’ waiting … (for) the sky-fall feast; In ‘Side by Side’ …hare jumps…lolloping… and in ‘Elder’ the Wiccan crow, watching with ink black eyes…
One of my favourite lines from the collection is- I try to bottle in the new spring light… (Clocks)- which compresses in a few words an array of emotions and such hope for the spring.
My personal favourite from the collection was ‘Bright Thing’- which is a recollection of childhood, encapsulating the sharedjoy of drawing – and it really resonated with me, taking me back to my own tiny room in the sliver of a new build house I grew up in.
So much to enjoy and mull over in this graceful collection connecting you, the reader, with nature, the world around us and within its pages finding moments of peace.