The Pinkfoot Press, 2005 - £4.50
In Sea Stories, cover illustration, typography and content combine to make a beautiful little jewel of a book, in which land, sea and air dance in brilliant fusions of diamond, jet, emerald and sapphire. The poet’s eye and mind are entranced, striving to make her words paint and sing. The writing is stark and rich at the same time, an epitome of crafting that also keeps the poem alive, sifted and rinsed to an almost hallucinogenic clarity. Images are shuffled and discarded until, in ‘Anchorage’ for example, the only possible one remains:
spicules of light
form on the surface
of this cold, remote polar ocean
from point to point
diatom and featherstar
shiver as a draft
riffles the night curtain
the sky is alive, like a radar screen...
Lesley Harrison uses dialect, and challenging words, without a glossary—haar, spicule, skerries, smoory—which may be beyond your average dictionary, but only ‘budden’ defeated Google. The little extra work is rewarding, and I’m grateful to be able to tuck these words away into my own vocabulary. It is one of the duties of the poet to keep such words current: diversity is as essential for language as it is for the gene pool.
There are 17 poems in this collection. I cannot believe Lesley Harrison does not have more waiting to see the light of print. The last few lines of ‘Crossing the Bridge’ represent something I’d like to read much more of:
time roars through the hole.
hard lines have formed.
a gaze lies on the sea
like far-off haar
Coultra, Auchmithie, Arbroath
the shadow of a footprint, running