Friday, 28 October 2022 21:38

Green Hauntings / New & Selected Poems / Volume One / 2006-2016 - Alan Morrison

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Green Hauntings / New & Selected Poems / Volume One / 2006-2016 - Alan Morrison

Green Hauntings draws selections from four of Alan Morrison's first six full volumes of poetry: The Mansion Gardens (2006), A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (2009), Blaze a Vanishing and The Tall Skies (2013), and Shadows Waltz Haltingly (2015)—published by Paula Brown Publishing, Waterloo Press, and Lapwing Publications, respectively. Although some long poems are included here, most are shorter to medium in length, providing a varied and comprehensive diversion from the epic book-length poems with which Morrison has latterly become most associated.

The title Green Hauntings alludes to past poems of a younger self returning to ‘haunt’ the present, as well as to the ghostly quality of much of the poet’s earlier more (‘covert’) pastoral, even gothic, poetry—a recrudescent hauntedness which, partly prompted by the 2020-21 pandemic, has resurfaced in his most recent verse, hence the inclusion of some similarly-toned poems as supplemental complement.
  
‘One of Alan Morrison’s great strengths is his abilty to transmute social history into highly readable long form poems. ‘Cheap soap and woodbline, chip shop and Brylcream’, for example, is his pungent image, after Orwell, of volunteers arriving to fight in 30’s Spain. Richly-drawn mini-portraits of poets, thinkers and social reformers are similarly rewarding, alongside compelling narratives of anxiety and want. Green Hauntings is Morrison’s most recent, and most thoroughgoing, contribution to the literature of progressive imagination and witness.’  
—Anne Rouse
 
 
 
Three poems from the book
 
 
 
A Hamper From Landrake

In the creel of a slate-skied Cornish winter 
we caught a scraping sound outside; 
a huge mass landing, heavy as the weight 
my father prayed would be lifted from 
his jobless shoulders scraped and bowed—
cold wind shot through the hallway, lo!
we beheld a hamper packed with tins 
& vegetables—no Christians, 
just a scribbled note blown on the lino 
saying from the Parish—my father scowled: 
now he was obliged to let them Save him.
 
 
 
The Haunted Ghosts
 
A face peered through the two-way window 
Of our shadow-cottage, squinting in
With sun-shade hand, it shook back as
The dogs claw-scraped up to the ledge 
Barking ferociously as Cerberus
At the gates of Hades —I, Orpheus
With my shrinking father (Oeagrus) 
Quickly stirred, blinking & startled at
Being discovered in our rustic squat
(The limbo we Shades haunted)—
‘I’M SORRY’ called the trespasser
Through the starved glass, gingerly
Retreating, ‘I DIDN’T THINK ANYONE
LIVED HERE’ —& nor did we…
 
 

Where Banshees Brought Me
 
Gusts hurled blustery fists outside
    & threw, with sweeps, the rain
That lashed against the draughty glass
   Of the sunken window-pane;
 
I caught the squalling croon
   Of a thousand drowning choirs; 
The bawling caterwauled across
   Plunging downs and dipping mires—
 
I heard them beckon me outside;
   Their morbid song, lifting in pitch, 
Led me from a restive mood
   To the turbid depths of a ditch;
 
The wails turned to watery gasps—
    Into the ditch I tripped and fell; 
The rain filled in the dug-up grave
    & there’s little else to tell…
 
Except that here I drowned with ease—
   My thoughts, the bricks around this well.

 
 
 
ISBN 978-1-8384966-2-3
Publisher: Caparison, 2022
Clothbound hardback with wraparound dust jacket
Limited edition signed copies
322pp
£15 (plus £5.00 p&p)
 
 
The book can be ordered at any of the following links:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Read 1249 times Last modified on Saturday, 29 October 2022 19:45