Our featured publication for August is Like This by Neil Elder, published by 4Word.
‘What I love most about Elder’s work is the deep sympathy for all he observes, the way his language steers us toward the plangent note but then we are lifted into love, into understanding. These are calm, measured and wise poems offering hard won joy.‘ Daljit Nagra
‘‘Like This’ builds on Neil Elder’s previous collections as these direct, plain-speaking narrators give voice to the fleeting moments that unite and separate us. With humour and tenderness Elder records the things we do to give our lives meaning but often enough epiphanies come when we least expect them. Chaos, rage and sadness are kept in check just below the surface, “There is no cure for the end of summer”, but these poems urge us to grasp happiness, even as it’s slipping from our hands.‘ Lorraine Mariner
‘Neil Elder’s poems wash over you. They can be deft and unobtrusive, but they stay with you… A poet so sure-handed is irresistible. This is a dazzling collection.‘ George Bilgere
After a while we leave the footpath,
continuing in comfortable silence,
each wondering how we can turn today into forever.
Life must still be happening to people,
shops will be open, traffic is stacking up,
and we must believe that there are passengers
in planes that pass overhead.
But out here, where we have no reception,
there’s sky, fields, crow crested trees and us.
The sun is splashing through leaf cover
and I squeeze tight shut my eyes
to see a kaleidoscope rush of yellow and green.
Only when we see the burnt out car,
that’s flattened a path into wheat,
do we feel the tug of our lives,
hold our phones up high
and search for a signal.
Runner-up in the Binstead Poetry Prize 2018
Reading Thomas Savage
Upstairs, I am reading the last two chapters of The Power of The Dog.
It’s another tale of people suffering and struggling
before they get what they want, or don’t.
Downstairs, my wife and daughter are watching I’m A Celebrity,
which also involves adversity and tears.
And although I have enjoyed the book,
its ending powerful and pleasing,
what I will remember most about this evening
is the sound of my daughter howling
Sudden low sun in the eyes makes me blink,
and puts in mind the man who sneezed
uncontrollably in the sun’s glare, before swerving
into the path of oncoming traffic,
killing three but walking away unscathed.
I am jolted by the realisation
that I don’t remember how I arrived
on this stretch of dual carriageway,
such is the routine.
Ahead is a day of work and I should be glad,
and indeed, I am. But I shall be glad
when I drive home into the sun,
knowing I shall do this again tomorrow.
Also published in The High Window.
The theme is …
This is where I duck out;
the moon’s too big for just one person.
Give me a tiny moonstone to write about,
or better still, a moon shaped stone
that fits upon my palm.
Like the stone I took away from the shore
the day I gave an urn of ashes to the sea:
a trade that, like the tide,
keeps returning you to me.
Like This follows a run of publications for Neil – Codes of Conduct (shortlisted for a Saboteur Award), and The Space Between Us with Cinnamon Press, Being Present (BLER) and And The House Watches On (Cicero). He is widely published in journals and magazines. Neil lives in London and does his best with what life gives him. Contact Neil on Twitter @Eldersville