The better poems in this volume are exquisitely crafted and
polished to near perfection. Richly
layered with an inner life that reveals itself as each poem unfolds, Summer
Requiem seduces the senses and draws the reader into a reverie that seems
never-ending, awash with shifting moods and remembered experiences threading
together the sublime and the pedestrian with gentle profundity. The lesser
poems, I would like to term them thus, lack character, originality and a sense
of their own identity. In fact, they appear to be either reflections of the
work of a plethora of British poets ranging backwards from the 1970s. In truth
they read like work out poems, the ones that poets need to keep the juices
flowing and their skills sharpened. I fail to understand why they are in a
collection which contains some remarkably created work. I would like to avoid
sweeping judgements but instead pick up some poems that stand out as one or the
The title poem is a sprawling reflection on the slipping
away of one’s life just as seasons give way to one another. What was—is not,
what is—is not what should be, unfulfillment and quiet despair pervade the
Returning to the wastes of expression,
I feel again dry ground, though sterile;
From the shining sea I was thrown back always
Into the harbours of regret.
And later the poem says—
Memory is a poison; it has sickened my body.
The cleavage of attachment has frayed my mind.
Rabid and weary, autistic, spasmodic,
Exhaustion makes me dance like a puppet.
The all-consuming mood is one of regret and resignedly
considering the incompleteness of one’s years. Set against the past the present
appears disjointed and dislocated. The summer of one’s life is nearly over and
the retreat inwards has begun—
… no one now can see the light in my window.
I stretch out my arms to the disbanded
But the flesh has pined away.
The crimson sun suspended on the dark spire
Can see me wander near the bridge.
And so the poem rolls on restlessly in its shifting bed,
turning over and over, heaving, lapping a foot printed past, careful not to
I recreate a hunger for the dead eyes
That tuned these discordant wires and made them sing,
Walking tranquillised in the mist, under
The serene and tender evening star.
At its close, ...
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