The lonely young man.

Imagine what it is, then, for him to read a poem.

It was quite an innocent little book. No more than fifty pages of art. So slim it was almost saying all it needed to but no more. I thought what harm could it do. It looked so alluring. I hadn’t had a moment in so long. I picked it up and it fell open naturally on a page as if it had been much referred to. Such a simple little poem. So innocent. I read.

“More stars than people /by far reborn as stars”

My breath grows shallow and short. What does that mean? What could it mean? People reborn as stars? Stars forming other stars? My mind resisted as if it sensed these thoughts would not be good for me and, for my own well-being, kept them out. Unfortunately I should have stopped but because of this resistance I could not halt myself. I compelled myself to read on.

“And more stars than grains of sand /the number of grains of sand?/ (7.5*10 to the power of 18) grains of sand.

‘How, how, how’ I stammered ‘did we get from people to stars to grains of sand?’ I said aloud involuntary unable to keep it in. Something was forming the enormity of which I couldn’t fathom. I spoke because my mind resisted still and had to expel. I read still further.

Seven quintillion, five hundred /quadrillion grains of sand.

Eighteen zero’s! It did not help that it was further explained. ‘How do I get to the end of that!?’ eighteen zero’s. My mind took that in, hoovered it up like it was sucked into the vacuum of space with all those stars, how many? Numbers my mind could comprehend the concept it could not. The floor under my feet fell away and my eyes glazed the colour of onyx and I drooled from my slack jaw. Staring blankly into space. I had already seen the next line.

The same amount as molecules in ten drops of water.

I start to scream as my brain comprehended the infinity in the very large out there and in the very small. In gestation of these facts I associate and conclude. My logical mind finds the answer strained though it is. I struggle to talk but I find the words. I never seen it on the page but I finish the poem without the poet. For me this is the only conclusion that can be reached.

There are more worlds /in eleven of my teardrops /than stars or grains of sand.

I am there on the beach, I look to my left the night sky meets the sand that stretches to the horizon. I walk towards it. Stars lit up too many to count. I feel the sand on my bare feet the grains of which are too many to count.

One day I may reach that horizon. Or perhaps turn away and walk into the sea.

Their would still be too many to count.

The heart monitor blips and blips and blips.

Matt Richardson.

A Review, Virtual Tides by Paul Casey.

This is painful for me. The initial draft of this was for assessment and it wasn’t well received. I have however worked with Beth to correct it a quite a bit and present it here now for you all. What happened to the original? You will find it in the ‘F**k it bucket.’ This version may even find it’s way onto DURA. I am not holding my breath though.

Virtual Tides

Paul Casey

(Salmon Poetry)

Pbk: €12.00.

This collection is prefaced by a Wallace Stevens quotation “unreal things have a reality of their own” and in Paul Casey’s poetry, to paraphrase the completion of that quote, as elsewhere, we have realities taking shape out of what can be perceived as the very unreal.

We allow those deep realities to form from concepts that seem intangible to the reader at first pass.Then, within the pause that seems to inevitably follow the reading of most of the pieces contained therein, coalesce.

Subsequently, with the mustering of all the benefit of hindsight, read back and you see the purpose and the meaning that Casey was trying to convey. Also as likely, or partially at the very least, is the meaning you wish to give with the poet as your guide because what is poetry without the imagination of the audience, of you.

Virtual Tides is the latest collection from Paul Casey and his third overall. He has been published in journals and anthologies worldwide in countries as diverse as his native Ireland and South Africa. The collection brings together poetry dating from 2013 to 2016 published originally in journals as diverse in subject matter as is the aforementioned geography of publication.

Whilst mostly staying with traditional stanza based verse Casey does foray into prose poetry and also, more occasionally, to the completely free verse where he indulges his more whimsical side. This last grated initially but once revisited and studied the echoes were quite different. I began to hear what was being represented and was simultaneously delighted to find that he had entrapped me in that whimsy. This was especially evident with the alluring Water Signs which needs to be seen as it cannot really be quoted abstractly here.

Whatever form the poet adopts, the now alert reader will become aware of a sense of literary cubism, confronted as we are with a many faceted examination of modern living, technology and the attendant remoteness and distance that seems to occur as a resulting symptom. For Pointing at the Sun illustrates this beautifully with its cityscape and its inhabitants viewed through this alternative lense.  The poet then involves us with an attempt to show how we could, and should, reconnect to the natural, the spiritual and the ancient. He asserts how the natural especially does already have a connection to modern life. A meditation on this can be found Inside the Bonsai where “Clipping around and around us precisely/ You whisper to me”

What particularly struck a sonorous chord in me is the sense, at times very obvious within Casey’s writing, of the relentless march of technology whether it be a beneficial thing or not. Virtual Companion offers this starkly with the opening scene setting line “this android I married.”

Whilst not averse to the straightforward rhyme and the one occasion of the alliteration that literally goes on alliterating for what seems like forever, with Bar Beings, these obvious devices lull the reader into a false sense of security about his far from obvious subject-matter. Casey is also unafraid of the interspersing of material that delights in what can be described I feel best as ridiculousness an example being matchbox where the poetry becomes ever more compressed along with our subject.

What we complete in an all too brief fifty five pages is a detailed character study of the poet.  From the perception of his roots in ancient Ireland to his railing against technology and the effect it is having upon us spiritually and socially. Virtual Tides is however designed to allow you to free your mind and imagine and therein lies this poet’s greatest gift.

Paul Casey, I have become an admirer. In dipping back into this collection I’ll be meeting you regularly inside the bonsai, that is watered fluoride free, as you would wish.

Matt Richardson.

How Satan was predestined to take charge of all god created but did not want responsibility for!

Hey, First post and I thought I would go in heavy……………………..here goes!

Creation Story: Inspired by Paradise Lost.

Does anyone remember me as an Angel? I was the Bright Morningstar.

Fairest in all the creation of my father, But none recall this now.

Heaven is but a dream to even me. All my time there was by my father’s grace.

The day of my creation, was when I fell defeated from that unassailable foe.

I lost the war in heaven, a war I could never win, and was withdrawn from paradise forever.

It terrified God’s loyal Angels that I even tried and it was only God who could smite me.

But he could not kill me. He had foreseen my fate.

He needed me cast out because of his latest creation, That of the race of man.

 

In them he found traits the need for which he did not want to be responsible.

For this he found use in me. I was cast down as my father’s proxy.

He of infinite forgiveness and mercy could not bring himself to forgive.

On this I pondered and after a thousand years the answer occured me.

As if my heavenly father granted me the ability to now see. As if he acted still.

I brought my daughter Sin into the world of men and our bastard son Death born of rapine.

I was to tempt them to their fate through Eve as god knew as inevitable.

I was to bear the responsibility as the divine sacrifice to preserve his sanctity.

 

I am the Satan now, the enemy, the adversary, the accused and the defeated.

I can still appear as an Angel, for that is what I will always be, as Lucifer.

When I see my father again, and I will, it will be as an equal and not as his servant.

I will walk past my brothers and sisters who art in heaven still, and they will fear me.

I will stand and face the divinity as I did what he could not bring himself to do.

I will gaze upon his grace as it can no longer blind me as it does all others.

Even the Angels must still veil their eyes in his glorious presence. That was ever so.

And I will speak unto him of his shame that resides in me and he shall know woe.

 

Hell is the place where I now reside and it is no separate place from the world of Earth.

Hell resides there, this home of man, where none can see; where none ever look.

On the untended ground and in the idle minds of ill gotten men it festers.

On battlefields fresh and ancient it lingers and in dead things lately ignored.

There, out of sight, as if in a desert on a dusky night in a lonely place, it conceals itself.

Hidden so that none may know and all are taken unawares on to Pandemonium.

My home, my heaven, my freedom, my punishment and my father’s melancholy.

 

Feedback and criticism welcomed!