The ‘space’ of John Kelly’s second collection of poems is, to begin with, the marvellous unknown that fascinates his younger self. But it’s also very much an earthly realm – the place where daily life occurs, the small territories each of us claims and clears, and from which we attempt to make sense of the world.
As with space, time too proves elastic, and full of openings onto unexpected discoveries. ‘It’s not that I don’t know where I am, exactly,’ one poem begins, only to travel back some fifty years, prompted by no more than the barking of a dog.
While the past insists on casting its shadow, and certain spaces reveal themselves as traps, the poet’s memory is nevetheless drawn to the light, to the stars, to the comforting presence of the dead, and to the many birds that move throughout these pages.
Intense, full of humour, and with the poet’s eye for the telling detail, these poems take us from the wonders of the everyday to the deep and mysterious spaces beyond – and beyond again.