How would we seem through the eyes
of the dead? What say we don a tricorn
hat and look to windward wondering
on what’s been lost and what found?
In these searching and evocative poems the author asks what happens when images which have traditionally served both as a means of making sense of human life and as a way to transcend it become devalued, corrupted and tenuous. How do we keep a sense of connection between earth, self and culture when the very roots of that culture in the physical world are seen as disposable, or commodities to be bought and sold — or when ancient symbolic material is undermined or made questionable by the legacy of recent history and changing social attitudes? The poems explore these questions as they intersect with timeless themes of birth, ageing, death, beauty, and love for people, history and place.
“This is poetry that ripples outwards and catches us emotionally and intellectually - its depths are mysterious and its surface, sparkling with light.”
What some reviewers have said:
Marcus James has gifted us with poems that carry the thud of the human heartbeat and echoes of worlds beyond this one. His finely crafted and evocative work is rooted in the here-and-now but always evoke the hinterland of what has gone before. The collection includes sequences that read like laments and shorter lyrics where the last line frequently astonishes. He conveys the mystery of the specific and rooted qualities of objects, time and space and by extension, re-enchants the reality of all of us. This is poetry that ripples outwards and catches us emotionally and intellectually — its depths are mysterious and its surface, sparkling with light.
This haunting poetry aims at finding the mythic moment when human and world embrace and create each other, and something else shines through. Reading the poems, forming their words in our minds and mouths, we see and taste that ‘something else,’ and remember it in our souls and our bodies. Fleetingly, it is intimately present once more. These are love songs in the fullest sense of the word, full of yearning, circumspect and sad, for the sensuous and spiritual presence otherwise outlawed by tepid IT dreams and peddlers of the phoney or the merely factual, who threaten to drain us and the world of meaning and delight. They deserve to be read as widely as possible.
Defiantly out of fashion, these finely cadenced poems sing out of our present darkness. A vital act of personal witnessing, they express our current sense of alienation and yet at the same time evoke the redemptive power of the numinous often lying just below the surface.
— Peter Abbs