ROWENA M LOVE: THE CHAMELEON OF HAPPINESS
16 Yorke Road
ISBN 0 9547084 0 7
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This page last updated: 31st August 2010.
|ROWENA M LOVE: THE CHAMELEON OF HAPPINESS|
A first poetry collection, but rightly not rushed into; it follows several placings of poems in England, Scotland and Hong Kong. These are mainly poems of place, in Scotland, some in English, but many are in Scots with useful footnotes of definitions of Scots words and phrases for the language-deficient Sassenach. (The pronunciations were mainly obvious, dialectical or phonetical guidance seemed unnecessary.)
Overall it is an attractive ramble of place and personal incident, laced with references to the life and features of nature. The poetry is far from vague reference, however, and is quite sharp. In the course of reading one learns a lot about the country. THE GREY MARE'S TAIL is a long waterfall fed and spouting in times of snow and rain. Above it
nestling in a horseshoe of hills, the haematite of Loch Skeen gleams greyly; caught in the clasp of pewter rocks are broken branches, their coral still draped with shrouds of ice.RING OF BRODGAR is a neolithic circle of standing stones at Stenness in Orkney, and is the photo feature on the cover of the collection. [Viking runes were found in the prehistoric chambered mound of Maeshowe, also in the area].
On that summer day, it was easy to hear echoes of Skara Brae's storm in the whispering tide, feel Viking fingers in Maeshowe's runes, but the Ring . . . the Ring stood like a palisade, its crooked teeth biting at fierce blue sky, gritting them at colours' sharpness as it trapped me, obstinately,in the present. Then, closing my eyes, I touched a megalith. It was cracked by more than four millennia of frosts, bearded with lichen, but as a lark sang sagas like bards of old I could feel rough hands on the June-warmed stone reaching along time's ley line to join with mine.KILLIECRANKIE, the 1689 Jacobite battle affray leading to the victory of 'Bonnie Dundee' might have been expected to have a Scots rendering; instead over three centuries later, Love transmutes it to a seasonal event in English:
Looting rain steals colour from the fallen, leaving only traces of gun-metal grey and the dark lustreless brown of old gore. But in a hollow, the ghostly fingerprint of a spider's web drowned in dew gives shimmering evidence that the woodland lives on. Reinforcements will arrive with Spring in their step.By a short head my favourite was NATURE'S HABERDASHERY, ending
Among appliquéd daisies, buttercups stud meadows with gilt; hills cross-stitch the horizon. And eyeing nature's display, I'm hooked.I am 'nae guid' for any technical comment on the Scots poems, but they can be read with fascination with the aid of the footnotes, and hopefully most readers will also be 'hooked' on this pleasant, versatile collection.
|reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.|