is a collection of poems in bold strokes, each concentrating on the poet’s
delight with intimate physicality, with appreciation of the natural world,
and the world of relationships, enhanced by Tara McLeod’s sensuous line
drawings. Haswell’s poetry possesses elegance and clarity of thought and
feeling. Try this:
run my finger
along the lovely neck
the swell of the throat
exquisite curl of the lip;
catch the light,
above poem catches the light, the touch, and shape and reflected beauty
of a face engaged in the contemplation of a lily. It is so simply put that
it is very hard to dive between words and draw extra meanings at the phrase-level
except of course the self justifying beautifully sculpted way these seemingly
simple phrases are said. “I am allowed” is the poet’s concise intimacy
with her subject. Perhaps it could purely refer to the lily, which makes
the statement a differentiation between the possession of inanimate beauty
against the inaccessibility, the need for permission, to touch another.
It may also be Haswell’s assertion of a poet’s license to catch and hold
up people to the light.
are only eleven poems in this slim and very collectable volume. I enjoy
above all their relaxed mode of saying - the intense refinement of their
creation has yielded up finely honed lines: “‘Take heart’,/ I say to myself,
easing it back/ into place...”; “dandelions do me dizzy with desire”; “lie
white on a white sheet/ and know”. The relaxation disguises the artifice
that went into their creation.
surprises me most about Haswell’s first class book is why isn’t she better
known as a poet? This satisfying book is well worth getting hold of.