NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
A.F. HARROLD: LOGIC & THE HEART
Two Rivers Press
35-39 London Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 4PS
UK
ISBN 1 901677 38 9
8

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A.F. HARROLD: LOGIC & THE HEART

A.F.Harrold has built a reputation as a zany performance poet, children's entertainer and Viv Stanshall-like band leader. With LOGIC AND THE HEART, he attempts to make the leap to what he describes as literary poet. Harrold is an able technician his natural use of cadence and rhythm is clearly a product of his grounding in performance poetry.

The book is divided into three sections: the first considers the poet's response to the death of his father; the second records the development and ending of a close relationship; the third explores the mystery of love and ambiguity of relationships.

For me, the most moving and successful section explores the decline and death of Harrold's father. Often we fail to recognise the decline of an ageing parent, as in the poem BEING THERE:

	While I wasn't looking my father grew up,
	and then he grew old and then he grew down
And it comes as a shock to suddenly recognise the extent of that decline in SONG:
	There's a skeleton in my father's bed
	and the skeleton looks like him
Like Harrold, death can leave us with regrets as in APOLOGIA:
	Time is stretching out now, stretching finely,
	so fine I'm afraid it's going to snap
	...
	it is all the important things that have escaped,
	they have faded or slipped away
While, at the end of a life, the most prosaic phrase can assume significance as in LIVING:
	"Take care." Those were the last words that my father said to me.
	And people still remind me to "Take care,"
	as if, somehow, by caring enough such things might change,
	but more likely, I suspect, is that by always being careful
	or by never being so, things, that is the world, will stay the same.
The other sections of the book contain some excellent poems, but these do not work sequentially like the poems in the first section. I particularly enjoyed Harrold's humour as in TWO LINES:
	This is the night when things come together,
	when all ports are possible in any kind of weather.
And the unusual TEA PARTY:
	Love. Alice is in love.
	She pours tea. Drinks tea.
	Laughs. Alice is laughing.
	Everyone stares at her tresses,
	falling across her shoulders
	and down the back of her dress.
	Alice impresses
While the metaphoric HOW TO AVOID BEARS, seems sensible advice for any lovers:
	I have read many times and in many different sources
	that the best way to not be eaten by bears
	is to lie still and silent on the ground before them.

	This is good advice, if it works, but better is, surely
	to not be attractive to bears. Do not smell like honey.
	Do not move like a fish. Do not breathe like you like bears.
Whether LOGIC AND THE HEART has secured Harrold the right to style himself a literary poet, I leave his readers to judge. However, I recommend this book for its honesty, accessibility and craftsmanship and look forward to his next collection of poems for the page.

reviewer: Patrick B Osada.