Praise and Poems
This new version of Nicholas Johnson’s Cleave is notable for its apposition of the darknesses of modern rural life with a quality of light, that springs from a deep interest in people and a respect for the healing power of love. The structure is almost musical. I for one am reminded of the quirkiness of a Havergal Brian symphony, or indeed Shostakovich.
On Cleave, First Edition (etruscan books, 2002)
These poems cut through the world of political expediency with a sure understanding of the pragmatics of destruction. They also hold close a register of loss which is all the more forceful for being embedded in a known world.
Cleave is a large scale serious work with well-advised variety for such a major undertaking. The tone is about right – hard always in the case of bad things
All March day the birds do sing
as if sauterelles on a zither
not as if and neither like
for they’ve become so.
Wind unveils a sediment
the white in smoke signifies flesh
fields appear flatter
the cockerel water
the motif birds of spring that make the song