This collection of poems by Dannie Abse draw on the strengths and preoccupations of a long and distinguished career, with evocations of a Welsh childhood, and reinterpretations of bardic and Jewish mythology.
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In this upbeat, wildly original collection, Dannie Abse's forays into language know no bounds. With masterful ease, an uncompromising wit and a flawless ear, Abse moves from the celestial to the ordinary. The poet enumerates bawdy escapades in "The Boasts of Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd"; praises in "Deaf Men Singing" those who "hallow the coarse endeavour, attend / the awkward, the not winging, the also-rans; / cheer Z because it's last..."; and provides, in the especially amusing "Why Angels Disappeared", wonderfully imaginative explanations:
...wanton Azazel, the angel of Vice,While travelling in the United States as a young man, Abse stumbled on a road sign announcing "ARCADIA ONE MILE". Simultaneously, a funeral procession passed by. Therein lies the impetus for wedding paradisiacal whimsy with mortality's grim reminders, for urging us to
unhooked his masterpiece wings, displayed,
enticed daft angels to swig double-strength nectar,
deft angels to juggle the fruits of Paradise.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! That unquiet night
(such an orgy) half the angels got laid
and their pet unicorns rat riot, began to bite ... Some howled at
the moon, some crapped on the ambrosia...
Toast all that which seems to vanishReading these poems, our heads lean towards hope like "long-necked tulips, sinuous out of the vase", and it begins to seem plausible that
like a rainbow stared at, those bright
truant things that will not keep;
and ignorance of the last night
of our lives, its famished breathing.
Then, in the red wine, taste the light.
After the melting eyes and devastationHeart-warming and lyrical, Abse goes down like fine wine. -- Martha Silano
of Hiroshima ... butterflies, crazed,
flew about, fluttering soundless things.
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Book Description Hutchinson, London, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. First Edition. 70 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 26443
Book Description Hutchinson, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 009173455X