The cover image of Polly Clark's superb third collection, `Farewell my Lovely', shows the figure of a woman who appears to be emerging from, but at the same time disappearing into, the background: like the narrator of many of Clark's poems, she is captured at the point where she could either surrender to the world, or cut herself free from it. It is a peopled world, full of babies, husbands, mothers, midwives, doctors, men suddenly encountered laughing in cracks in the road, or wheeling past on Chair-o-planes, but again and again, Clark pulls the focus back from her characters, to show us the wider context, the forces which give them their lives, and which could just as easily take them away. The rocks, winds and sea waves of the West of Scotland are characters in themselves, loved but also feared. The last few poems in the book, in the sequence `I Thought It Was in Scotland', are set in her most terrifying and arbitrary landscape, that of the Falklands during the war, in which a boy soldier suffers terrible injuries, and loses his innocence. This mark a shift in tone from the more lyrical voice in the rest of the collection, as the young paratrooper's voice takes over, but, like the other poems, they are tautly written, with a savage black humour that can trip you up when you least expect it.