Are the sounds between trees a kind of conversation? The wind? Or silence? Or is it an abstraction, even at times a personification, ‘to save us from / what is formless’? Peter Larkin’s new book, a beautifully produced volume by Guillemot, evidences an arboreal religiosity, ‘a thud of spirit’, rooted in a landscape of prayer and seeking.
The hundred small poems here (each two or three short lines) are small-scale devotions-come-observations, verbal snapshots of a world of verticals, ‘[t]rees above trees’, shelter, storms and ‘noises in rain’. Within the ‘[t]ree chaos’, it seems that nature itself prays, perhaps to itself, in a self-contained cycle of erosion, displacement and ecology.
The final line asks ‘is this how the wild calls?’ I truly do not know; the words – pared back to a minimum – are more ‘a stumble into the uncondition’ that Larkin seeks, a hoped-for escape from human formlessness into…
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