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Struck
by Anna Saunders
(pub. 2014)

 

Struck Reviews


"Struck is an intricate weave of images held before reality, its threads pulled together by a recurrent series of physical materials and ideas – birch, skin, writing, above all silk which describes the weave itself. There is too a sustained symbolism of colour – of brown and blue and grey – a symbolism which, though it never hangs heavy over the poems, is nevertheless strong enough to cope with the weightiest subjects: love, physical nature, violence and – in a powerful and lucid closing sequence about the poet's father – death. Not a single image or symbol is wasted or forgotten. What stays with you at the end is not so much the subjects or the myths the poems draw on – Danae, Zeus, Van Gogh, the figures from Chagall, compelling as those are, – as the astonishingly original and fresh technique of a poet of quite remarkable gifts."

Bernard O'Donoghue, poet


Birch

She traces his spine with a hot finger,
calls it a sapling,
says his metatarsal bones
resemble raised roots.

He finds heart-shaped leaves
with double teeth
flattened in a drawer,
last year's gold leaves
latticed in lingerie.

She scrutinises sharp buds
on slender shoots,
smoothes dangling catkins
between finger and thumb.

He catches her licking sap
surreptitiously,
stripping sheet-white bark
in a slow reveal.

She weeps at the idea
of lumber and pulp,
learns in Latin
Betula pendula.

He rips the axe
from the stump,
wipes the blade clean.

 

(from Struck)

Struck

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