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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awake so long, with only dark to feed on..., 31 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Woods etc. (Paperback)
Alice Oswald asks questions continually in her poetry, striving to understand the world:
what is water in the eyes of water
loose inquisitive fragile anxious (Sea Poem)
Elswhere she gives us extraordinary structures:
A song that assembles the earth
out of nine notes and silence (Birdsong for Two Voices)
And my current favourite of her poems Owl - a poem that can only be rendered in its whole form:

Owl
last night at the joint of dawn
an owl's call opened the darkness

miles away, more than a world beyond this room

and immediately, I was in the woods again
poised, seeing my eyes seen,
hearing my listening heard

under a huge tree improvised by fear

dead brush falling then a star
straight through to God
founded and fixed the wood

then out, until it touched the town's lights
an owl's elsewhere swelled and questioned

twice, like you might lean and strike
two matches in the wind.

Other poems I loved in this collection include: 'The mud-spattered recollections of a woman who lived her life backwards', which is amazingly literal and heart-breaking. And especially, 'Various Portents' - just that, exactly, and an encapsulated history of the world. 'Tree Ghosts' is a ballad, chiefly about Clifford Harris, the last man in England to see a red squirrel. I loved also 'Another Westminster Bridge' and the poem following it, 'Hymn to Iris', which includes a "three-moment blessing for all bridges" and ends thus:

And may I often wake on the broken bridge of a word,
Like in the wind the trace of a web. Tethered to nothing

Her poetry has a gorgeously flowing feeling to it, like the rivers she writes about, nothing if not adventurous and swift-paced, tightly rhythmic, pastoral and thrumming with the natural world's sights, sounds and a profound understanding of how nature works on our feelings.
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Review Details

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4.8 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)


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Reviewer

Eileen Shaw
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Leeds, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 706