Settings are evocative in this collection. Many places are named. Throughout, the backcloth is nature with its flowers, trees, animals and birds – a host of birds. Frequently the atmosphere is both magical and mysterious. Roseland is described as an ‘elemental place’ where ‘the headland fog holds fast’ and ‘Spirits and wraiths are free to roam.’ Together with the author, we feel we have returned ‘Like strangers to an ancient land’. ('Valley of the Kites').
Many beautiful poems in How the Light Gets In’ are written in the best pastoral tradition. Conversely, there is bitterness and grief at what has been lost in the name of technology and attendant materialism. The section called ‘Place’ is introduced by a quotation from Philip Larkin’s 'Going, Going' where everything special in the land may ‘linger’ but will most likely be eradicated by ‘concrete and tyres’. The new world that Patrick Osada is afraid will exist – already exists – is marginal, unwelcoming and toxic.
The final section of the collection is ‘Spiritual’. Poems here are poignant, nostalgic, concerned with mortality and sometimes fear and doubt at the thought of life stopping ‘like turning off a switch’ and there being nothing but oblivion and blackness. ('Birthday').
Overall, however, the poems in this fine collection leave me with a feeling of benediction and beauty ‘found /In birdsong, sun, sweet fragrances.’ (Lilies of the Valley). The first two stanzas of the poem 'Contact' strengthen this impression and suggest again the idea of light found in small things, light getting in through the cracks.
‘Sometimes the meaning comes in code:
Reflections on a pool; flower tints;
Sea, sky or hills as ciphers.
Or information set in tongues:
Bird call; the constant drone of bees;
Whispering grass or cold wind’s song.’
22nd August 2018
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