Hello Poetry Lovers
Welcome back to the Poetry Basket Review. Today we have an absolute stunner by the very talented Pratibha Castle titled A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers. Her award-winning debut pamphlet gets a well-deserved hot review.
Pratibha has been highly commended in various poetry competitions, and longlisted for The Bridgeport Prize 2021, and joint winner of Hedgehog Poetry Press competition, Nicely Folded Paper in 2019. This is an impressive background and worth reading on;
A Triptych of Birds
& A Few Loose Feathers
by Pratibha Castle
A striking title and clever subheading, I was immediately engaged by Pratibha Castle’s award winning pamphlet, and jumped willingly on board for this journey. As much as I urge you to join me, do not be fooled into thinking this is an easy trip. There is a painful and dark bumpy ride before us, quickly becoming a mission you cannot resist, and wouldn’t dream of alighting from. The text opens up beautifully as the very visual Heartsease greets us, drawing us in gently. Merging nicely with the landscape and emotions of South Downs. When we reach Sparrow Love, our route takes on a tender and painful child’s view, and revealing to us the underlying pitfalls of human behaviour. The recurring birds draw a painful parallel.
Padraig – Who Drove The Snakes Out of Ireland is such a powerful catalyst making our voyage take an intense turn. Padraig meaning noble and Irish for Patrick, the reader is drawn in to the poet’s skill that weave between nature and childhood. A vivid piece, ending with dry humour of the father’s alleged sainthood. Loved it. However, the bitter turning point in the last verse emphasises how life changes for our narrator. The convent school that is as corrupt as any corporation. Ending with a very profound last line.
Descriptive powers come through in Riddles, my favourite line being ‘She purses citrus lips..’
Just one of the detailed descriptions that keeps the reader rooted. A difficult relationship with parents rings loud, and Homework only highlights this with the interaction with her father. This title can mean so many things to us, so intricately described as the conflicting emotions during commonplace routines. I particularly loved the ironed copy of The Times and the disturbing end stanza.
Soaking in this intensity, we say no to a rest stop and go on to read Koala. I tried not to let feelings of envy choke me, as I have always yearned for one of those – or do I now?! The dark connotations from a seemingly innocuous toy becomes something more complex altogether. Exodus is atmospheric with the terror of confession combined with the image of Mary Quant lipsticks. Only skilful writing could do this. This piece unravelled more about the poet constantly moving houses, facing another school of strict nuns and bullying.
Plums is so symbolic and intriguing and the reader feels the discomfort of that grim red leakage. The nature of birds that sits alongside human emotion is put over very succinctly.
However, my absolute favourite Hippy Chick Blues gives us the atmosphere of Portobello market, and borders on the romantic. The ardour is dampened down by her mother’s caution. Love this poem right down to the need-of-repair jeans.
The Only One Who Loves You takes us to London in ’68 from squalid bedsits to dubious communes. Most vitally, it is a razor sharp perspective of a young girl trying to embrace the sexual revolution. Love is an ether you can choke or float in is an unforgettable line.
Swans excels by poignant descriptions of living in a Finchley flat that is never a real home. Underlying Catholicism and Irish heritage are laid bare as a mother bakes. The subtext has a real sense of these things slipping away from under our noses. The writing works beautifully. On Reaching Heaven we arrive at a stunning tribute to a lost mother, emphasising the pain of separation that moves us all. The reader’s eye goes straight to the emotional structure and its moving message.
Refuge is a fitting stop to our journey, engulfing ourselves with surrounding beauty and descriptions. An incredible and intricate account of nature and emotion is a good way to conclude our trip, leaving us with so many images. I’ll happily jump on this poet’s bus again.
For a real treat, A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers is available from http://www.pratibhacastlepoetry.com
Thank you for tuning in, PL’s. A terrific debut pamphlet I know you’ll agree. Tune in real soon for more poetry antics….