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Author Topic: Bear Ridge to Nettle Lane by Rachel Green  (Read 2340 times)
« on: December 23, 2010, 04:26:52 AM »

Bear Ridge to Nettle Lane
by Rachel Green ISBN 978-1-4457-8900-2

The table that houses my computer also groans under the weight of books to be read, to be reviewed, to be discarded, as well as miscellaneous junk. The books are a moveable feast. They are devoured in order, then consigned to bookshelves or charity shop bags, etc. A very small number, however, stay put. One is the current Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. Another is Chambers’ dictionary. And the third, ever since I bought it some months ago, is Rachel Green’s “Bear Ridge to Nettle Lane”. Why? Because I like reading it. Simple as that. I love to pick it up, open at random, and read a poem. I’m not ready to file it away on a bookshelf. Not yet.

The ‘product description’ on amazon describes this book as: 141 long and short-form poems about the life of an English novelist and her daily walks with three dogs, her memories of rural England and the life of a writer. I like that description. It gives a sense of both timelessness and of escape from gadgets, consumerism, politics, facebook, and a host of other annoyances that will intrude on a writers’ time.

Rachel’s walks with her dogs often take her through a cemetery. This has inspired some of her best and most poignant poetry. Here is one of my favourites:

Plotting for Three

Visiting the cemetery was somewhere
between merriment and weeping –
after the three of them were married
(private ceremony, no reporters)
but before the first of them died
(accidental death, the coroner ruled).
Perhaps winter was not the best time to view plots,
when blackthorn hedges glowered
with plastic bags clutched in thorny grips
and chestnut vied with beech
to make the sweetest, sickliest scent
of rotting nuts and winter-wet leaves
but the eldest, in fur-trimmed hat and tweed cape,
saw past the waterlogged graves
to the starry-eyed gleam
of blackberry blossom and summer fruits.
“Here,” she said, “Here,
where the rain will remember our passing.”

The dogs, of course, make an appearance every so often. Here they are, in one of the delightful short poems that punctuates the collection:

is too hot
to eat
Jack helps out and
wolfs his biscuits

I started writing this review at least an hour ago but have become side-tracked by re-reading the poems. I want to quote them all, but that would be absurd, so if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to stop, post this review, and get back to reading...

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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2010, 04:52:53 AM »

interesting review technique there, delf.....

... though left wondering what dog#three's name is ..... Wink

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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2010, 07:43:24 AM »

What a splendid review. Thank you so much.

Lash -- the third dog is Trickster Wink
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2010, 07:56:53 AM »

My pleasure, Rachel. It's a fabulous book.

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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2010, 11:29:57 AM »

 afro afro afro

DW Cheesy


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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2010, 04:53:19 PM »

Brilliant innovative review, Cathy, and congrats, Rachel.


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