Wednesday 26 April 2017
Twilight Scrawls by Kirstin Maguire
Twilight Scrawls is a collection of philosophy-based poems from Kirstin Maguire (with illustrations from Liam Ward). The book is made up of three sections, starting ‘at sunrise’, and moving through through the course of a day (and equally perhaps a lifetime) to ‘sunset’, then into the ‘night’. Themes covered include creativity, fate, consciousness, our relationship with nature and essentially what it means to be human, taking in ideas from various branches of philosophy. The Twilight in the title refers both to dusk and dawn and to a time and feeling of uncertainty.
The book was written over a seven year period while the poet was working on other books. Perhaps partly as a result of this the poems here vary in style. Although many of the poems are in free verse, the poet sometimes uses metre and end line rhyme to great effect as in these lines from Being
I want to dance wild as a reckless flame,
Feel frivolous furnace where once was shame.
I want to glisten as an endless tide,
And not feel compelled to sink and slide
other times the metre and rhyme can feel a bit more contrived as in these lines from Trees of Wonder:
I don’t know how many times I’ve been blinded by its familiarity.
And suddenly, its blossom, as if for the first time, I see.
The natural world appears frequently in these poems, though it isn't the central element of the book and is often used in a metaphorical sense as these lines from Advaita Vedanta
Like the bird
Who flew the nest,
And circled intrepid skies
Some of the best poems, with their effective use of repetition and straightforward rhymes cry out to be made into songs, including I Ain't Growing Any Wiser:
The sands of time, how they shift.
Each wave meets its shore,
Indeed each grows, crests, then flows away.
And it’s waves, and waves, and waves, my friend,
Fragile, violent and pure.
Like waves, and waves, and waves, my friend,
Of all those swift goodbyes.
Similarly Ain't Got No Time for Poetry:
Ain’t got no use for politics,
They play their games and make their tricks.
Knowing context ain’t how I get my kicks,
There just ain’t no use for politics.
The poems become increasingly dark as the collection proceeds, it's a trajectory that makes logical sense but may be disheartening for some readers. Yes it feels as though the world is getting darker all the time, given the current political situations and the worsening state of the natural environment, but a journey into hope would be welcome! Some readers may feel the collection is too heavily weighted with philosophy, but in general it's a thought provoking read.
Twilight Scrawls by Kirstin Maguire published by Alba Publishing.
Disclaimer: I received a free, electronic copy of this book.