Robin Robertson
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Buy *Swithering: Poems* by Robin Robertson online

Swithering: Poems
Robin Robertson
Harvest Books
112 pages
March 2006
rated 5 of 5 possible stars
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The unusual title of his collection aside, Scottish poet Robin Robertson shows an amazing grasp of image and the emotional landscape of the heart, melding the two in page after page of arresting poems as startling and spare as nature, glowing with life, a sensual pageantry that charms and amazes:

The child’s skip
still there in the walk,
a woman’s poise in her slow
of the brightly coloured globe…

Is there anything
more heartbreaking than hope? (“Cusp”)
Tackling subjects great and small, Robertson’s longer works take on the themes of history: “The Death of Acteon,” “Acteon: the Early Years,” “Holding Proteus” and “Crossing the Archipelago.” Between these poems are the small jewels of introspection that seem to flow so effortlessly from Robertson’s pen:
The sea’s a heavy sleeper,
dreaming in and out with a catch
in each breath, and is not disturbed…

Through the starting rain, the moon
skirrs across the sky dragging
torn shreds of cloud behind. (“What the Horses See at Night”)
The title of the collection, Swithering, implies doubt or indecision. While the mellifluous words find purchase in the constancy of nature, the shifting of emotions blends past and present, the loves lost, the roads not taken, moments of ecstasy, each inscribed with the poet’s distinctive interpretation:
White silk
in her hands…
drew me back
to another ocean,
another ravishing…

That moment,
When I found myself
Felt myself
Being pulled in. (“Net”)
In this remarkable collection, “I found myself caught, felt myself pulled in” to an artful arrangement of phrases that stir my soul and lead me to reflection.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2006

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