'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

Mind and ears spinning...

Wayleave Press
Last night, on my train journey home through darkening fields and dusk, I rootled in my bag to find the reading treat I'd brought along: 'Moon Garden' by Ron Scowcroft.  I was recently asked to review this poetry pamphlet for The Frogmore Papers and, new to Scowcroft's poetry, I wanted to give myself time to fully engage with the work.  For me there is no better place to do this than aboard the quiet coach on a train journey home after a long and satisfying day of working on my own poetry.

Much to my delight, this pamphlet grabbed me immediately. Before I knew it I'd read the first five poems without pause then, quite startled, went back and started again, trying to rein in my reading dive and pace myself.  But again, the poems reached out and curled around my synapses and I was off...

And then there I was on the train mouthing words, testing some of Scowcroft's rich language in my cheeks and hovering them between my lips before breathing each into the night air of the carriage.  From the first poem in the pamphlet: 'Kite Flying at Porlock Weir, Easter 1982', some image fragments:

an explosion of crows from the cornfield
a shrapnel of black...

          the unwinding weight of string...

To the opening of poem two's terrifying scene 'Dog in a Minefield':

So there we were,
down-draft kicking out grass
and me leaning out the side hatch
waving a ham sandwich...

And the beautifully raw 'Red Aeroplane':

I slept with lacerations, left tiny smears
of blood on balsa ribs and struts,
peeled glue from the copy of my fingertips,
...applied a cellulose of skin.

There are so many poems in this pamphlet that I fell in love with on first read, then on second read, fell in love with again. Scowcroft has a way with language that causes the ear and mind to take notice at once. He allows for no superfluous word to sit among the finely-hewn lines of each poem. It is poetry to be read aloud as well as silently.  I'll leave you with a taster from my favourite poem in the pamphlet, 'Snig' (also reminiscent of E. Annie Proulx's language-dance in The Shipping News):

...his zig-zag capitulation, the certainty
he's taken both lob-worm and hook to gut,
that even new whelped from the water
he'll come out a disappointment,
exuding white lard as your grip melts...