Poems from Heartlands

At 193 pages, Poems from Heartlands is a substantial body of poetry by Roman Catholic priest, C A Buckley. Interspersed with illustrations, Dr Buckley’s poems are mainly free verse with occasional forays into rhyme. Themes include topics both spiritual and secular as he considers the role of God and faith in daily life, loneliness and depression, the challenges of modern life and even current affairs, such as Covid-19.  

But above all, these poems make a deep, soul-searching exploration of faith in all it’s guises through examination of man’s love for God, and vice versa, and through contemplation of physical desire, despair and what he vividly calls “life’s torrid journey”.

Buckley is a deep and philosophical thinker capable of incisive observation, such as his musings on what it is to be human: “to have to live, at times, with feeling totally alone”; or an uncomfortable spirituality likened to a trip to the dentist: “the needle / And drill and grating scraper”. He also offers eloquent and evocative turns of phrase, like stars that are “Emblems of inspiration and aspiration / On the edge of time’s knife”. Some of the best of this collection are Elegy for Jerry, on his brother’s death, and a dark moment questioning the value of faith in Chains of Darkness: “What is the use of crying? … Only for heart cleansing and red eyes, / And for human longings that cannot be erased?”

While I enjoyed this collection, I felt that this book would benefit from a little paring down of some works that I felt revisited the same questions. But at his best, Buckley is very good indeed; for that reason, I give Poems from Heartlands a hearty recommendation to any reader that is passionate about poetry.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B0962S6W5J

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Posted on July 23, 2022, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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