It always rolls past somehow or other. This time I was dipping in and out of three books I'm reviewing this week, while wondering (this thought continually recurs to me) why somebody would read a collection of poetry. By choice, I mean.


As for me, there's the obsession thing. Anybody can get obsessed with an art form, a genre or sub-genre. But why would an ordinary person read some of what I read? And why -- when they've read the first 6 lines of most of the poems I read -- would they continue?

I don't mean this cynically at all. I'm never quite sure of the answer. In fact, part of what keeps me reading is simply wondering why I'm supposed to be reading whatever it is.

Sometimes, when you get to the end, you have a feeling that might always be summed up as: 'So that was why'.

And sometimes it's more like: 'Was that all?'

Very occasionally, of course, you end thinking: 'Yes!'

But Yes-Poetry is rare and sometimes I think it's my fault. On the back cover, it is perfectly obvious that this is meant to be a whole book of Yes. Not just moderately, but extremely Yes, and several clever people are attesting to that fact. My brain is simply not attuned correctly. Or I'm somehow missing the point. Or it would be different if I'd met them. Or it would be different if I heard them. Or it would be different if festive hats and greenery didn't get in the way...

But the berries outside are superb. They gleam like lights. And the birds are already up earlier in the morning and a lot of dodgy merriment is going on in the bushes. Between birds, I mean. Today six long-tailed tits arrived in the front garden at once. That was a lovely moment. Five at once, with their tails at various lop-sided angles on the fat ball in the eucalyptus tree. Yes!

Of course, they don't need my fat balls. Fat balls are just twenty-first century decadence. They should be busy with the jewelled red berries... and whatever else birds ate before humans started stirring up trouble.