Title: Wishing for Birds (2016)
Author: Elisabeth Hewer
Read: 21st January 2017
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
In this breath-takingly beautiful debut collection, Elisabeth Hewer displays a sense of lyricism and astuteness that make her poetry sing.
“Rebellion sits well on you
like a red coat
or the gilt gold burnish of youth”
Collecting together sixty poems, Wishing For Birds covers topics that range from the most personal and individual to the national and social, displaying in the process Hewer’s keen grasp of how to introduce and weave (at times, unusual) imagery into the “narrative” of her poems. Some of her poems look outwards, to the world around her, others look inwards, and others look back to the past. Some poems span a mere couple of lines, some are longer, but all are penned in a distinct voice which encapsulates Hewer’s spirit – the girl who (it seems) wishes for birds.
In case you’ve miraculous missed it on the news, the BBC, news websites, or Twitter, today is National Poetry Day. I will be the first to admit that, despite being a literature student, my poetry knowledge is shamefully limited at best. Let alone modern poetry or, worse still, performance poetry – a whole world that I just haven’t explored enough to form an opinion either way. However, I thought I’d stick to my guns and share some of my favourite poems, the majority of which were written in the early modern or Romantic era, with no apology to be found since I happen to think they are crafted beautifully.
The Canonization – John Donne [full poem]
“We can die by it, if not live by love,
And if unfit for tomb or hearse
Our legend be, it will be fit for verse;
And if no piece of chronicle we prove,
We’ll build in sonnets pretty rooms;
As well a well-wrought urn becomes
The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs,
And by these hymns, all shall approve
Us canonized for love;”
To His Coy Mistress – Andrew Marvell [full poem]
“Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.”
Holy Sonnet X – John Donne Continue reading