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Skies is Alison Brackenburys ninth Carcanet collection. In these poems - Brackenbury sustains delicate proximities between war and love - joy and sadness - summer and winter. Starting out as the first trees chatter into leaf - the poems cross through Julys dripping amber to Januarys false thaw. The seasonal shift is reflected in the poets larder - its variegating hues and tastes: honeycomb - parsnips - apples - broad beans - sprouts - jams and spices summon an air of harvest. But it is also the seasons of life that concern Brackenbury here: the poets irrecoverable past - her youth which I can never visit - like a star - is at the same time the thing that never stops revisiting: in an unexpected letter from an old lover - in a half-remembered playground song. The poems in Skies are attuned to this musicality - to times echoes and refrains - the old errors that still flower and flower.Finally - it is the poets quiet conviction to savour life - to take seriously its succulent variety - that defines this collection: the poems attest to the special privileges of age: wisdom - self-sufficiency - a deepening patience with the world; the ability to be - as the poet says of an apple - self-sweet.The communal warmth of the kitchen finds its double in the exquisite loneliness of rising early - of hearing the barking of town foxes at dawn - or in the contemplation of a garden in autumn - its rows of hips swelled by rain - a rose whose name I think means happiness....
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Skies by Alison Brackenbury 9781784101800