These are wonderful poems, covering a broad range of topics. The collection is divided into five sections. The section called “The Lover” is my favourite – every poem is exquisitely intense, in particular The Only Garden, a poem of searing loss, showing how being abandoned by a much-loved lover scorches a soul. Indeed, the most powerful image from this poem is the stanza which reads:
“Your hatred has scorched my flesh;
My skin is black, obscenely
Red flesh revealed through the cracks”
What a powerful image of a love so passionate, so fiery that it’s ultimately destructive and its end strikes an almost, but not quite, mortal blow until an inner strength in the lover so cruelly left behind brings her to life again …
“But I am waking from my sleep;
I cannot let you steal the small living
I have left inside me.
Let me, let you go.”
There are many other poems in the book that prod and poke beneath the surface of uncomfortable emotions (“Lisping Beneath the Cries”, “Being Brave”, Do Not Love Freedom” are particular favourites).
In the sometimes enigmatic and often pithy insights there are echoes of the poet’s mentorship by the South African Nobel Laureate J M Coetzee, but her own style is well-defined and strong, with at times a mystical lilt to the words that draw one in.
Dealing with both universal and personal themes, WINTER, THE UNWELCOME VISITOR is a collection of poems well worth reading again and again.