Saturday 25 July 2015

Escape from the Orchard of Wheels by Chris Crittenden

 Displaying Escape_from_the_Orch_Cover_for_Kindlejpg copy.jpeg

When I edited the online poetry journal, Bolts of Silk I was always delighted whenever Chris Crittenden sent me poems to be considered (you can read his poems on Bolts of Silk here).

So I was very happy to recently be asked to review Chris's latest poetry collection Escape from the Orchard. Right in the first poem Whisked Leaves, I was struck, by this very vivid image

then a lion’s mane
dissolving a hind,

and in the same poem, another vivid image, along, this time with a great rhyme

lava blustery,
dancing into lust,

A lot of Crittenden's poems are embedded in the natural world. As a birdwatcher myself, I could really relate to Birdwatchers, with its humour and striking imagery

soon we are blurry again,
cautious within Van Gogh fields,
hunkering like sandhill cranes
over snaky ground. 

There are plenty of birds too in these poems, including Owl

smudge of silence
and mahogany, alert
in onyx, vizier
in a skein of boughs,

and the wonderful description of Hermit Thrush Song 

whose notes are nothing less
and not a sound more
than the cadence
of dusk.

I feel I can hear this bird's song, even though it's a species I've never heard.

There are frequent flashes of humour, like this description of bluebottles from Siesta

their buzz seems to laugh
from a wink of philosophy,

and is gone.

This sense of humour balances the serious, even gloomy nature of other poems covering topics including advertising (Cereal Box Parade) and gutting fish (Gut Knife). Other topics include the wealth of life (specifically ants) to be found in a brownfield site (Not so Vacant Lot) life as seen from the point of view of other species (Thoughts of a Fly and Bat Thoughts), and the writing process (Writing). This is a varied collection that however centres on a profound understanding of the human relationship with the natural world, both the alienation many of us feel these days and the realisation of our real relationship with the creatures with whom we share this planet:

why should i be
its nemesis,
the claw in the gloom
that swipes? why must i
exist to thwart
its hallelujah?

from Annoying Fly  

Escape from the Orchard of Wheels by Chris Crittenden is published by Medulla Review Publishing


RG said...

All the thrushes are so great to hear!

Enjoyed the tidbits there.

sage said...

Beautiful lines, this appears to be a wonderful collection of words that capture an aspect of life's wonderful mystery.

Caroline Gill said...

It sounds an interesting and diverse collection, Juliet, with a bit of the 'red in tooth and claw' alongside the more 'palatable' aspects of nature.

Pietro Brosio said...

Beautiful poetry images.