Thursday, May 15, 2008

The edges of rainflood

Colin Simms is a naturalist and much of his poetry describes landscape incidentally, through the experience of birds and animals. In 'Gos in Autumn' for example, one of the seasonal poems in Goshawk Lives (1995), set 'mainly in Northumberland and North Yorkshire in Northumbria', Simms describes the bird in flight over Crosscliffe and Raincliffe, with the crossgraining of 'leaf and light light leaf light light green light'. The poem soars over hills and dales, noting 'the edges of rainflood', 'anvil clouds on unstable air', 'horizontalling wind', 'ditches white in powderice and ice on old leaves.' There are lines like this: 'mist across rich edges music moving the beginnings of taken ideas and moods dancing on air.' Basil Bunting's influence is clear in the writing, and the last poem in Goshawk Lives describes the arrival of a pair of goshawks on Bunting's birthday, 1st March, 1985.

There is a review of a more recent collection dedicated to the gyrfalcon here and another review of Otters and Martens here - "my problem with this collection of excellent poems is the very strict theme. Every poem is about otters, or martens. It’s true the title is a bit of a giveaway, but even so…" Well I have to admit I wouldn't recognise a goshawk if one ever flew down to Stoke Newington, but I like the idea of a whole volume dedicated to one type of bird. There are five examples of Colin Simms poems online here. And Simms gets a couple of recommendations on this recent thread about nature writing.

No comments: