Memo from Devon – 9

Books are published in their hundreds every week, and getting someone to take notice of them is not always very easy, which makes it all the more gratifying when someone is supportive enough to write a positive review of ‘one of your own’. The print and e-zine ‘Linnet’s Wings’, www.thelinnetswings.org – has today included a sympathetic and encouraging review of ‘Raised Voices’ in its Autumn 2014 issue, with quotes used from a few of the poems. My appreciation goes to Marie Fitzpatrick and the editorial team at the magazine for giving the book a much wide public airing than my own personal site allows.

Having started on covering a few of the Devon-inspired poems included in the book in Memo 8, I’m now going to mention a few more, and while it might be seen as a little egotistical to quote from your own work, I will do so on a limited basis so as to give whoever reads this a flavour of the poem. Many other subjects are touched on in the book other than Devon, but for the purposes of these memos, I will continue with the local theme for the time being.

‘Early Devon’ and ‘Viva La Devona’ were looked at in Memo 8.  The next poem with a local theme is ‘The Three Ages of MSS Napoli’, when a cargo ship found itself aground on the coast near Branscombe, in south Devon.

‘The abandoned old girl weeps and lurches

her dignity the cruellest loss of all’.

To considerable local distress, the news channels then broadcast footage of the Napoli being widely looted, with people wading ashore with everything from packets of nappies to top range motor bikes. People in transit vans were arriving from miles away, apparently in the mistaken view that all the ship’s goods are now legitimate ‘salvage’. The police got control and cordoned the area off, and six months on, the Napoli looked very different:

‘She changes character, sex and colour,

naked metal in stark red browns,

an old bruiser backed into a final corner’.

After some further months, the Napoli was cut to pieces, literally, and the pieces towed away.

‘Eventually restored, the nice Branscombe view

brings back to the beach the respectable tourists

and all is a footnote in an old news bulletin’.

‘Fox in the Road’, all twelve lines of it, refers to the ‘road kill’ which is an all too frequent feature of Devon country roads. It is not always easy to identify the dead creatures as such:

‘no more than a flick of a driver’s eye, the red-brown heap;

the consequences of discarded afters, Burger King remnants..’

When the dead fox is seen for what it is, its fate seems extreme for a moment’s hunting inattention:

‘ a strong retribution, totally road splurged

for a tenative toe towards just one kill. Justice is human’.

More Devonish poetry in Memo 10; in the meantime, ‘Raised Voices’ is available at www.bruceharris.org, and an inexpensive e-book version of there on offer.

 

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