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This is a collection of poems where words dance between the profound and the ethereal, “Twynd” by Harry Matthews emerges as a collection that transcends the ordinary. The title itself, a lexical curiosity, sets the tone for a journey through language, history, and emotion. Rooted in the English language as the longest word without traditional vowels, ‘Twynd” serves as a metaphor for the unique and the rare, much like the poems contained within these pages.

As readers delve into this collection, they will find themselves traversing diverse landscapes – from the introspective depths of ‘Belle Vue’ to the historical echoes in ‘Diddlebury.’ Each poem is a world unto itself, yet together they weave a tapestry rich in imagery and emotion.

Highlights of this collection include: ‘Blue Bell,’ a poetic testament to resilience, where nature’s simple beauty becomes a profound metaphor for human strength and endurance; ‘Chosen,’ which soars in spiritual realms, exploring freedom and elevation from earthly confines to celestial expanses; the historical narrative of ‘Diddlebury,’ paints a vivid portrait of a village where time moves in whispers and every stone holds a story; ‘Halcyon,’ a piece where mythology and nature merge, offers a story of love, loss, and the enduring power of legends.

‘Otter’ by Matthews is a mesmerising six-part poem that elegantly captures the otter’s essence, celebrating its grace and connection with nature. The poem vividly portrays the otter’s life through exquisite imagery: from its sleek movement, described as “muscles rippling like liquid silk,” to its enchanting nocturnal swims under a moonlit sky, “a silent ballet under the stars.” It delves into the otter’s sensory world with lines like “With a connoisseur’s tongue, he savours his catch,” and reflects on the profound, almost mystical bond between human and animal, “In your touch, a squeak of delight, an echo of the wild.” The line, “Your essence, small-clawed navigator of life’s undulations, teaches joy in simplicity.” – beautifully encapsulates the essence of the otter and its life lessons for humans. Through these snapshots, Matthews not only showcases the otter’s beauty and adaptability but also imparts life lessons on simplicity and joy. This poem stands as a vivid testament to the untouched splendour of the natural world.

‘Kingfisher’ stands as a metaphor for purposeful living, drawing parallels between the keen, focused existence of the kingfisher and human aspirations. Matthews uses the bird as a symbol of clarity and direction, encouraging a contemplative approach to life. The poem resonates with anyone seeking a deeper meaning in the everyday. “Like the kingfisher, perched in silent watch, / Not in idleness, but in keen anticipation; / A mind crystalised in purpose.”

‘Confirmation’ dives into the complex journey of maturing and self-discovery. The poem navigates through the trials of youth, rebellion, and the eventual emergence of personal identity. Matthews’ exploration of the internal conflicts faced during the transition to adulthood is both poignant and relatable. “In the shadow of elders, he finds a twisted sanctuary, / Echoing the very bonds he loathes, a paradox of revolt.”

In ‘Expect the Unexpected,’ Matthews speaks to the heart of the adventurous and the resilient. The poem serves as a reminder of the unpredictability of life and the potential within to adapt and grow. It’s an uplifting piece, encouraging readers to embrace the unexpected twists and turns of their personal journeys. “Your journey is to new lands, / Where dormant strengths awaken, / Stirring from their deep slumber.”

‘Drømmeland’ takes readers on a whimsical journey through dreams and memories. The poem is a celebration of youth and the enduring spirit of joy and wonder. Matthews’ evocative language and vibrant imagery create a dream-like atmosphere that lingers in the mind long after reading. “Travels in Dreamland, / Beyond the possible and known. / The wave crashing on the beach, / A young man laughing.”

‘By the River Severn By Night’ is a serene and contemplative piece, reflecting on nature’s beauty and its capacity to evoke deep, introspective thought. Matthews’ description of the landscape around the River Severn is both picturesque and profound, capturing the tranquillity of nature and its subtle teachings. “In the shadow of Wrekin’s rise, under a winter sky, liberated yet laden with wisdom, the sun shares its silent sermon.”

These poems from “Twynd” further demonstrate Harry Matthews’ remarkable range as a poet. His ability to weave together elements of nature, personal growth, and deep contemplation creates a collection that is both diverse and cohesive, offering something for every reader who ventures into its pages.

This collection is recommended for readers who seek poetry that challenges and comforts, that reflects the complexities of the human experience and the nuanced beauty of the world around us. It is a journey for those who appreciate the power of words to convey the inexpressible and to capture the fleeting moments of life.

“Twynd” is not just a collection of poems; it is an odyssey through varied emotional landscapes. Matthews masterfully blends historical depth with personal introspection, mythological echoes with stark realism, creating a symphony of words that resonate with the soul.

What emerges in “Twynd” is an invitation to explore the corners of your heart and the edges of your imagination, guided by the lyrical prowess of Harry Matthews. Embrace this journey, and let these poems be your compass in the ever-unfolding map of human experience.

Harry Matthews

un poète et peintre

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