Agnes Meadows, poet: “Leaving Traces ” is Mary Pargeter’s second collection, and one which fully embraces life’s tragedies, sorrows and regrets, as well as some of the things that amuse or remind us of nature’s bounty. It is a collection packed with poignant, emotional images that haunt, staying with you long after you’ve read the poems. Evocative and nostalgic are words that spring to mind over and over again when reading Mary’s exquisitely crafted collection.
The common thread linking each of its four parts is sadness for what was once replete with life and promise, but which has now passed. There is a ghost-like quality about this writing, as if each word and phrase is a thread in the writer’s rich tapestry of years and memories, the past an ever-present but remote reality, all of it imbued with elemental magic and the mystery of the natural world. Ultimately, I loved the whole collection because, despite its often painful and nostalgic themes, it was beautifully written by a poet who has clearly taken a great deal of time and thought to fine-tune each memory, real or imagined, allowing us to springboard our own regrets and disappointments.
Well worth a read – a collection not to be ignored.
journey in shades
poetry in light and dark
TV Presenter JULIETTE FOSTER: "She writes with the lightness of petals falling on water yet underscoring the mildness is an honesty that surprises with its intensity."
In this first collection, English poet Mary Pargeter re-visits her childhood, loss of innocence, states of love, heartbreak and death, and reflects, with admirable frankness, on those universal rites of passage common to us all.
The first poems present an idyllic childhood running free in the exquisite landscapes near Selborne, immortalised by the 18th Century naturalist Gilbert White FRS. That blessed landscape, now part of the South Downs National Park, is still referred to as Gilbert White country. With superb views across the South Downs, the rambling house of her early years had been built for entertaining, but is now the family's no-nonsense working market garden.
Sadly, to the child's dawning awareness come warning signs that all is not well. Her father has not long returned from four years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The experience has left inevitable scars. Tiny and intelligent, she observes and struggles to understand.
As she grows up, next come poems dealing with young love - emotional intensity, gradual decline and the trauma of loss to which she herself admits a contribution. Dealing with grief contributes to the third part of her collection.
In her early 20s, Mary's parents both died. Thus she must tackle another kind of loss, as well as anger and other raw emotions, finally coming to terms with her life's unavoidable patterns.
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