Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Tuesday Poem: 'A Whole Day Through from Waking', by Jacci Bulman

A whole day through from waking -

allowing love.

Halt has been called,
by whom?  we forget.
It came like a heron to the river.

My bitch is set free,
(barked as far as Mars,
bit the air like a jackal).
His rats are scattered.

Now we sit quiet by the water,
he watches the deep pool for fish,
I look at his lips and
watch only that part of him.

Copyright Jacci Bulman 2016

A Whole Day Through From Waking, Cinnamon Press, 2016

This is the title poem of Jacci Bulman's first collection.  It seems to describe the  quiet moment after a quarrel.  Rats and terriers have gone, the heron has glided into place beside the river and the two lovers sit watching it, but with a new awareness of each other. This is how the poem feels to me, but it may resonate differently with other people.

These poems celebrate the small epiphanies of everyday living. 'Last night we watched a film,/ you stroked my feet,/ we ate peppermint creams', sounds very ordinary, but the memory is recalled in a hospital waiting room - a context that gives it a very different meaning. Life is precarious - in the midst of the ordinary, we are pitched into the extraordinary.  Context and hindsight change our perspective. Small domestic tasks bring relief  to the chaos of life because of their very ordinariness. A poem titled 'Evening after a disaster at work' begins:  'The fat tadpoles are a relief./ She peers down/ at their attempts to grab pond-weed,/ new legs taking a rest on submerged reed.'   The surface of the poem, like the 'skin of the pond', has secret depths.  The dangers that the frogs and tadpoles have to cope with - life and death issues - put the poet's own tribulations into perspective.  These are deceptively simple poems.  Jacci Bulman is one of  the north's new voices and her take on life is informed by her own private struggle with a brain tumour while a student at Oxford University.  She writes obliquely about darkness, obeying Emily Dickinson's advice:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise . . .

These aren't wildly intellectual poems, but the quiet narratives of everyday.  I like that.

A Whole Day Through from Waking
by Jacci Bulman £8.99
Cinnamon Press 2016

Quotes from reader reviews:

"This is poetry that is open-hearted, that reaches out to its audience with open arms. It is the kind of poetry which poets and non-poets alike can appreciate; it doesn’t buy into poetry snobbery or elitism, but also it never shies away from looking life full in the face."
" The work is sometimes an ode to the every day, the things we take for granted that retrospectively we may yearn for. This is the poetry of staying in the present, recognising the blissful beauty of life itself be it strewn with pain, sorrow, worry or joy. It is a generous book offering the reader a glimpse into the world of the author in whom we recognise aspects of our secret selves."
"Reading this book was like drinking a sparkling elderflower champagne, light and airy, yet born of earth. It is wonderful. I always enjoy poems that are taken from the lives we live, which offer every kind of subject imaginable."
"Jacci Bulman's work addresses the big questions and issues in life. It is shot through with love"







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