Wednesday, June 14, 2006

linear hymns. ( 7 Selmeston Court Surrey Road Seaford East Sussex BN25 2NG- Great Britain.) Giles Paley- Phillips.

When poetry is put into service for a good cause I am always supportive. Giles Paley- Phillips has written a collection of poetry “linear hymns,” dedicated to his late mother, who died from Cancer. Proceeds from the book will go the “Leukemia Research Fund.” Having lost a father a few years ago, I, like Phillips,
compiled a collection of poetry in memory of him. I found the writing of my book clarified things about our relationship, provided a better understanding of the man, and gave me a sense of closure. Hopefully Phillips achieved some of this. The poems trace the before and after of his mother’s demise, and his reflections and ruminations regarding her untimely death. In the poem “God Bless Sympathy,” Philips takes an amused look at all those well-meaning clich├ęs we send forth in a nervous flurry:

“God bless sympathy
greatest of all the symphonies
even when it’s not in key,
you still taste the notes.

With a receding tongue
that is trying to escape
another coming wave,
heading for two kind ears…

You’d think you had died already
by the tone of this embrace.
A tad less sensitivity
may help you stay awake…”

And as in any relationship, there is a dance of deception we all play. “Terminal Orchid,” examines denial and resignation for the mother and son:

“On the way home
by the corner of our road
I turn to look at my mother,
as a tear stains her laughter.

I tell her she’ll look a million dollars,
in that gray hairpiece we found.
An orchid that has finally bloomed,
with colours so strong and proud.”

This is a sensitive and thought-provoking book from a young poet residing in England. Recommended.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/ Somerville, Mass. 02143

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