An Autumn Wind Paperback – 22 Mar 2010
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Top customer reviews
'we look to the still living whole
to heal the heart and cure the soul.'
'A Quiet Spot' for the general theme made interesting with the choices of 'the hard look', 'airy sneakers' 'listen to the leaves'.
'The Thunder Shower' for its sensuousness and drama.
'New Space' for the theme, the perfect attention to all those details. Admire the final verse as typical of Mahon at his best.
'The Seasons' - the last verse above the others, but all of them capture a sense of place effectively, effortlessly indeed. The last verse does it beautifully - spring is this poet's season.
'At the Butler Arms' is very fine indeed. I don't like the handrail bathos, but the rest is so good, I can forget it. Wonderful contrasts and sense of place.
'Under the Volcano' - the last verse most of all.
'Raw Material' puts into beautiful words a view I share, so I treasure this one.
'Plant Life' - more very welcome and imaginative sensuousness!
And finally, 'A Building Site' - the surprise favourite of them all. Mahon surpasses himself here, because he thinks twice and the second thought is masterly, inspiring, ringing - wonderful!
The autumn of the title may be either a personal one for the 70-year-old Mahon or a global one as the poet addresses environmental concerns. There are tsunamis, floods and volcanoes; dying nature; a beached whale whose 'flesh falls away like leaves' in what is the standout poem for me. Unsurprisingly, there's commentary on wars too. Political wars, oil wars, corporate wars, cultural wars. The wind here appears as a destructive force but can equally be seen as a force for change.
The three sections shift focus between Mahon's native Ireland, where he spends a lot of time on or by the sea, a reinvention of Chinese poetry of the T'ang era, and a closing selection of 'raw material' from Mahon's 'fictitious Hindi poet Gopal Singh'. The last one is curious because I wouldn't have known Mahon was speaking under a different voice had it not been explained.
A New Space speaks of 'art that's modest, not a chore; and rhyming verses, not too long, that say exactly what they mean', a perfect review of the lyrical elegance that surrounds it. Like ferocious autumn gales, Mahon remains a force to be reckoned with.
Three I love:
Beached Whale; The Thunder Shower; An Aspiring Spirit