Monday, 7 October 2013

Life is all but a vast array of Colours by Dan Thompson

Sometimes you just feel the need to shut yourself away and read some good poetry and these two poems by Dan are crackers.

The first poem, ‘The Clock Girl,’ tells a rhythmic story of a girl whose life appears to be frozen in time by fear. She focuses very much on the present; on the man who has harmed her and on the clicking clock in a vast empty house, where it appears that she is trapped alone with him. We also know that he is an unkempt man, brutally strong and has already broken windows and doors with his bare knuckles.

We do not learn the girls name, she is just referred to as ‘it’; but we do know that she has been shown no respect, no warm human feelings, and has just been left to witness the cold hard anger that is inflicted on her and to carry the shame that all victims hold after such an ordeal. As the poem progresses, there are some clues to the girl’s identity, from the memories that flash before her: the school prom, birthdays and a wedding. We get some clues about her age from the fact that she is wearing mascara.

I like the openness of this poem, it is left to us to decide whether the wedding is from her memory, or just of a photo showing a marriage of her parents. It mentions children’s drawings; are they her children or his? Does it matter? No, the vulnerability and helplessness makes you want to scream ‘get out, run.’ But the girl is crippled by fear, not even managing to cry out and biting her lip.
Is it her father or her husband threatening her with a knife? The person is just referred to as the ‘Mister.’

There is some form of brutal honestly that has be consistently bound up in the words to make this poem. It leaves you feeling slight unsettled. I have always been scared of shadows on the wall!

The second poem ‘Life is all but a vast array of Colours,’ is beautifully written and visually stimulating. It is broken down into colours and how they interact with the world, and then subdivided further like ‘mitosis’, into feelings.

In a few brief paragraphs, Dan embodies the whole of life from the sparkling sunlight and the warmth of feelings to the blackest and loneliness that can creep up on us without warning.
I love the way that he describe the trees as, ‘a collection of wisps,’ as this not only conjures up the movement of the tree branches but also that of their noise and the wind beneath them.
I am a huge fan of poetry and would put this second poem on par with that of Sir John Wain, whose poems I illustrated.

I truly hope that Dan writes some more poetry, I feel he has great insight and a depth of feeling that is equally rare.

‘Life is all but a vast array of Colours,’ By Dan Thompson is available on amazon as an ‘ebook’ and is only 77p, proceeds go to research in Pancreatic Cancer UK