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Michael Harlow has written that the poems in A LONG ROAD TRIP HOME go to the heart of the matter. “Invention,” he says, “is one thing, knowing is another. John Allison knows that the wisdom of experience leads to poems of discovery and revelation. These are poems whose governance is the reality of the imagination and the imagination of reality. It is all there in the language. By turns insightful, thoughtful, tender and reflective. His handling of myth, metaphor and symbol is exemplary, where myth is sacred history that returns us to ourselves and to who we are becoming in the forging of personality. And what an astonishment of images: “I cannot live by bread alone/ I become your hands”; “Rocks and the dead make good companions–/ and these trees shredded by the wind from a bleak/ horizon”; “the home paddock singing in the dusk/ and the foal is prancing, dancing . . .” Since feeling is first, these are poems of heart-warming care, whose intelligence is the thoughtfulness that fills that deep hole behind words. They also ask that inevitable and archetypal question: How is it that we are so mysterious to ourselves and to the world at large?’
John Allison resides in Heathcote Valley near Christchurch. His previous book, NEAR DISTANCE, was published by Cold Hub Press in mid-2019. A LONG ROAD TRIP HOME is his seventh collection of poetry.
for Noel Ferry
Rocks and the dead make good companions—
and these trees, shredded by the wind from a bleak
horizon, opened up like the scavenged
rib-cage of a long-dead sheep, their skeletal branches
skewed, scoured and bleached . . .
You feel your mother moving underneath
your skin, her low voice keening in the grayscale air;
so you’ve returned to visit her, in this
boneyard where birth, life and death readily cohere.
It seems you’ve never really been gone.
© John Allison 2023
Publication date: 14 September 2023
A LONG ROAD TRIP HOME
Softcover, 56 pp, 210 x 148 mm
Cold Hub Press ~ John Allison