Nick Jones’s poetry debut - a short (16 poems) collection - is a revelation. He traverses time and place with ease, evoking childhood memories and ephemeral moments, suffusing the ordinary and the mundane with an almost sacred sense of epiphany that can, at times, startle.

In ‘A Place in the Sky’ he recounts an illicit childhood tree-climb:

'this one kept my secret
her poison making me wash my hands
ritual before rejoining the world'

‘1950s Late Night Show’ recalls an episode on Dover Cliffs when:

'Lying on our backs
we peered, goose bumps prickled
fidgeting, ready to go'

He was introduced to the night star-scape, a moment of epiphany recalled 60 years later as:

'That night
he awoke curiosity
showed us how to wonder.'

The poems have about them a deeply personal and self-revelatory feel. Memory, and a curious juxtaposition of love of the present with an aching sense of loss for the passage of time pervades many of them, such that they are both joyous and poignant all at once.

‘Knowing’ recalls the sense of loneliness and loss of a widower:

‘He died at eighty-four, he chose the way
widower for twenty years
after all they’d shared
he believed he never knew who she was’

A walk among the headstones in the cemetery at Roslyn - a mining ghost town near Seattle and the last resting place of many “miners who fed/the Railway’s hunger for coal” - evokes a personal and collective memory and creates a sense of the universality of loss:

'Twenty- four nationalities
Slovak, Serb, Pole..
Ordered in ornate enclosures
Now their hillside home'

The joy of the present, and a love of the world are beautifully evoked in ‘Hollinwell’:

'Here buzzards mew to one another
gorse pods pop and snap…..
Night bestows tranquility
I breathe in this place'

These poems are simple and evocative, but make us think of the ordinary and the prosaic in a new light. In the end, they are a celebration of life and of the memories that make us human. Let us hope for more to come from Nick Jones.

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Nicholas S Jones

Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.

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Ray Clarke

BA, BSc, DCH FRCS, FRCS(ORL), Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, UK; Associate Postgraduate Dean for the Northwest of England.

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