The Second Blush,
Molly Peacock (77pp, $13.95, Norton)

                      Of Night
A city mouse darts from the paws of night.
                      A body drops from the jaws of night.
                      A woman denies the laws of night.
                      awake and trapped in the
was of night //

Something I haven't seen in poetry for some time / rhyme. I'm a natural. And true undiluted AAAA rhyme, which continues:

                     A young man turns in the gauze of night
                     unravelling the cause of night:
                     that days extend their claws at night,
                     to re-enact old wars at night /

Scheme AAAA - AAAA - Aaaand the rhyme continues over the page:

The Happy Diary

                    A man on a train feeding grapes to his son.
                    Tossing my shoes in the trash one by one.
                    The smell of tomato sauce. Square of sun
                    The boy slipped the grapes in his mouth one by one /

Are you getting a feeling for these poems? And the rhyme continues but becomes more sophisticated - partial rhyme on the next page:

The Silver Arrow:

                     With your fifteen percent chance to survive,
                      marriage seemed a doomed possibility,
                      yet melanoma taught us to live,
                      on two tracks with two new velocities /

It takes a brave poet in these experimental days to throw caution to the gail and stand up for their poetic beliefs. One might even think this is fool hardy verging on the insane. But fair play to Molly she's standing on the burning deck and saying to the world 'I don't give a toss about what's hip and what's not hip - I'm a poetic person and you can ram it where the experiments don't shine.' And this attitude I admire: that confronted with five hundred years of hard won poetic advancement that you op for a modi operandi that found light in Shakespeare's lodging house.

She like's her cat does Molly - but it dies:

Fellini the Cat

                       He bit me before he died, then hissed
                        at the vet who shaved his paw for the prick
                        of the euthanasia needle she'd stick
                        into a vein while we held him. Then she kissed /

Molly ratchets up the rhyme sophistication with a white heat ABBA. No not the pop group!

Then the cat becomes a ghost:

Ghost Cat

                         why isn't he there?
                         Only the clocks. Only air
                         Check the windowsill. The sunspot bare.

By this time I'm in tears: I don't know if its the capricious blow on blow of the astute melody or the gripping nature of the muse but:

I'm filling up
and I have to stop
I can't go on
and on and on and on and on full stop.


              James McLaughlin 2010