Palores Publications, 2007 - £3.95

There is a richness that pervades Patrick Williamson’s collection Prussia Cove. The images come thick and fast thanks to their rhythmic underpinnings. As the cover and title might lead you to expect, the recurring setting is the sea, and water images recur throughout—the shore, the spume, even the rain. Oddly, this rarely feels repetitive: the poems are generally not about water, so much as seen through its salt-rimed lens. Often the tone is pastoral, as in ‘Intermezzo’:



Look, that sunshade will shelter us

with its dark scents,

newly-cut budding flowers

to remind us

of this sweet rush of breath.



Those lines also serve to illustrate the imperative mode, which crops up often in the pamphlet, and tends to amplify some of the quicker rhythms to an even greater degree. Sometimes this rapid succession of mixed images can cause a certain loss of specifics, as in ‘Maestro’:



Swoop, then pounce like a hawk,

pluck each inner eye, stoke the fire,

unsplint limbs so the energy lines flow—

and music slides into cracks of molten lava,

setting pliant vessels ablaze…



I have to admit to finding some of this confusing: the cracks of “molten” lava (presumably a liquid), the unsplinted limbs, the “pliant” vessels (why does their flexibility matter?), and even whether hawks actually “pounce”, as such. But in this poem more than any other, it is the rhythm and sound that does the work, and in that manner it is certainly impressive.



James Midgley