MICHAEL SYMMONS ROBERTS, master of precise analysis, may be quietly pleased with Martyn Halsall’s review of his Drysalter in last week’s Church Times (23rd August). Here are a couple of the reviewer’s paragraphs
WHENEVER the institutional Church appears to exchange its prophetic potential for wrangling and bureaucracy, it is poets who help us re-engage with God’s mystery and creativity. God may remain at the far side of human imagination, but writers such as these encourage exploration; even engagement …
… In his [Symmons Roberts] opening poem, “World into Fragments”, he moves from the “small breaks” of a sustaining cup; our place in time (“cracked watch face”), and disintegrating shelter (“hairlines in roof tiles”), to a 9/11 collapse where “smoked office towers fold into tobacco heaps.” Yet even such disintegration offers potential redemption, a radicalised humanity: “And when it stops, we see for real, as if through mud and spit.”
The poet reviews, helps us “see for real”, re-member our genesis. Cup, roof tile, tower, humanity, primally, divinely raised out of dust – but vulnerable, leaking, blind until anointing application of a Breath, a paste, that no thing, no speck of dust, ever goes to waste.
Poet reviews poet. Logos reviews learning. Writ provides the spit.