Carreg Las & other work
by John Jones
Publisher: the collective press
Available in: paperback
Foreword to carreg las & other work
This exquisite book demands activity from its reader. We are asked to respond in many ways: to puzzle out the moon font, to imagine touch as our only conduit to the written word, to negotiate the difficult spaces between the artwork, the poems and the reader. We have to trust these spaces, understanding that what is not said is as important as what is said. Yet the poems are full of sounds, full too, of textures as well as finely-drawn images. Our senses become heightened as we read. Everything here is interconnected, literally and metaphorically. Meaning is often revealed through the discovery of surprising juxtapositions, so we can
“hear the drone of a
and think it
But connection is not easy. The vodafone may be turned off, the boys have only one line they can say, the girls are too busy dancing with each other to listen, the land is difficult and disappointing, full of molehills.
John Jones invites us to try again. To understand that “everything bleeds” – perhaps a pointed riposte to Alice Cooper’s allegedly feminist song “Only Women Bleed” – and, by the end of the book, we are up to our ankles in male blood. Not a symbolic castration, so feared by some men in this post-feminist age, but a real one; of a horse. For such a job we are better, John Jones tells us, not to be “wearing shoes”, better to be in touch with the reality of lifeblood. To live, to connect, to be part of the world we must be open and, indeed, vulnerable, to the truth about blood which symbolises both life and death, to the beauty of “sharp hilltops”, to the voices of our ancestors and ourselves when we cross over that edge into a place where anything might happen.
This book, touched with mortality, celebrates the business of being alive, reminds us “we’re a long time dead”. John Jones is asking us to live with our shoes off. Not to walk away from the lapis horse but to acknowledge the “exchange between hearts”, the importance of the cyclical nature of things, the fact that “there is strength here; all we have to do is find it”. – and, sometimes to take a gun with us, just in case.
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