Grace by Esther Morgan
Bloodaxe Books (ebook), 2011
What happens if, when the angel arrives with his message, no one’s at home? In poems of lyric concentration, Grace examines our need for purpose, for the signs that might help us decide what to do with our lives. It’s a desire that makes for restless spirits – like the woman who keeps shifting her furniture around or the invisible subjects of an early photograph, moving too fast to be captured. Other poems ask what happens when we reconcile ourselves to watching and waiting – whether the angle of the sun in a guest room or the colour of a bruised clementine is really ‘enough to be going on with’. Haunted by a blue sky out of which something (or nothing) might come, these are poems of intensely felt moments. They create a vision both troubled and informed by doubt, where the ghost of a film star may be the closest we can come to grace.
You’ve been living for this for weeks
without knowing it;
the moment the house empties like a city in August
it forgets you exist.
Grace is one of the best collections of poetry I’ve read in a long time. I thought every poem was great. I loved the language and the imagery. The poet uses simple but beautiful language. In every poem, I had a perfect picture in my head of what the poet was trying to say. Interestingly enough, I think this collection would be great in audio. I could easily go to a beach, lie back, listen to these poems on my MP3 player and just drift away. Grace offers plenty of examples of what a great poem should be – the best words in the best order. The language used is simple, direct and straight to the point. Morgan doesn’t use puns or tricks or gimmicks or complex structures, just pages and pages of beautiful and perfect words. My personal favourites were The Nature of Things, The Edge of Something, As I Walked Out, What Happens While We Are Sleeping and Spare Room in Summer. I can’t recommend this brilliant collection enough.