Last night I dreamt of my father's grave.
It was on the cliff-top close to the abrading sea
Now overgrown with nettles and vetch and gorse
And I had no wish to cut down the scrub; I gave
Myself permission to let it all go, to let it be
What it was: prick of the spikes and coarse
Green of leaves, bent and warped by the cold
And the small flowers - and the gold. And the gold.
It will listen to the arias of whales.
It will wake to the dawn yelp of the gull.
It will affirm the blue canticle of the skylark, the black croak of the frog.
It will be schooled by the sibilance of water, be attuned to the hard consonance of rock.
It will gut dictionaries.
it will eat etymologies.
It will eavesdrop on the spontaneous ramblings of children.
It will tour fairgrounds with a microphone.
It will tremble before the glance of Beauty.
It will taste the white vinegar of death.
It will honour silence.
It will be a crucible open to stars and dust.
It will expound the laws of Quantum Mechanics and recite the proverbs of Blake.
It will aspire to the levity of the butterfly crossing nuclear zones.
It will be born in blood, rise in estrangement, climax in breath.
It will remain in quest.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
Viva la Vida: ‘Long live life’. These words from Frida Kahlo’s last painting hint atthe courageous spirit of this volume of poems. It is Peter Abbs’ seventh collection. Its journey is not an easy one, but it is beautifully wrought, moving through ‘the trauma of our being here’ towards dasein, radiance, love...Alchemical metaphors lift and elate.
-Lynne Wycherley in Resurgence
These are intelligent, wide-ranging and, at times, passionate poems. Above all, they are refreshingly serious poems: poems that are not only serious about language and craft but about truth; serious-toned poems but never solemn...I could ramble on at greater length about this fascinating and thoughtful collection, but do not wish to spoil the pleasures of the many especial ‘discoveries’ inherent in it. Suffice it for me to recommend it warmly.
-William Oxley in Sofia
Abbs’ use of appropriate poetic form and echoing internal rhyme is accomplished and satisfying throughout the book...Strangely perhaps, I felt more in the presence of the real poet - his themes and his voice - through the more philosophical poems, where Abbs’ versatility with form allowed the fullest freedom to his poetic voice – that transcending and eternal note referred to in the earliest poems – to emerge unhindered.
-Padmacandra in Urthona