Forged Light

 

ENDORSEMENTS

 

I’ve always been impressed by the consistent high quality of Margaret Lloyd’s poems. The matter is always substantial, and always accompanied by her excellent craft. She has a distinctive voice, but in addition the voice is supple….The poems are nuanced beyond themselves. They create a lasting resonance. They produce an oddness that works as a shadow and multiplier of something elusive and foreign under the decorum.

 

     — Jack Gilbert, author of Collected Poems, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry

 

In Margaret Lloyd’s new collection, Forged Light, she moves effortlessly between classical, biblical, and Welsh myth and the world where we now live. Each informs the other, breathing life into the past, refreshing it, while making us see the present in different ways, as in the moving series of poems on the death of her mother. The poetry is also there in Margaret Lloyd's evocative paintings, which set the scene for each section, making Forged Light her finest collection yet.

 

     — John Barnie, author of Trouble in Heaven, long-listed for the Wales Book of the Year for poetry

 

In Forged Light, the poet illuminates deeply human stories and age-old narratives that are to be acknowledged, embraced, suffered, and endured. Lloyd’s earth is archetypal, mythic, and eternal: in one moment we are the hunter Diana, and in the next, Thomas Cole promising heaven. Exiled from grace, the job of the poet is singular. She becomes like Calypso, who gave Odysseus the tools and wood to make a boat. “The demand was not only to let him go, but to provide/the means to go—the raft of trees that carried him/over the broad back of the sea towards home.”

 

     — Richard Jones, author of The Blessing, New and Selected Poems, editor of Poetry East

EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS

 

Lloyd’s apparent disinterest in straining after unusual (or unusually placed) words or in creating startling images is a great pleasure….the liquid ease of the language [keeps] the eponymous tales moving with a fluid beauty….[in section IV] the speaker of the poems responds to the imminent death of her mother—and does so without, I think, descending into either lugubriousness or sentimentality….In its offering up of a poetic dwelling on the long-drawn-out loss of a parent, Forged Light is definitely worth reading. . . .Lloyd’s fine work deserves many readers.

 

     — Matthew Jarvis, Poetry Wales, Summer 2014

 

In Forged Light, Margaret Lloyd treads the well-worn path of placing Welsh mythology, and classical and biblical stories, into a contemporary world. She does so with competence and often with brilliance….The poems are dense and rich. . . . individual pieces are sumptuous and deeply moving….The book also showcases Lloyd’s haunting paintings—water-soaked landscapes which capture the Welsh ambience with enviable skill.

 

     — Sara Coles, Planet: The Welsh Internationalist, Summer 2014

 

POEMS

 

 

Brontë

 

He was the main player in their childhood

kingdoms and trysts, intrigues

of a secret world, furiously

writing scripts in a miniature hand.

All Branwell finally wanted was a little god

and an accepted friend. Evenings

he drank in Haworth’s one tavern

while his famous sisters wrote.

In the stairwell hung his portrait of the four,

his own visage later blacked out.

Some of us excuse ourselves,

choose one life over another—in his case

a life of secrecy and anonymity

with, I imagine, its own purposes.

As the wind swept over the moors,

through the stiff grasses and harebells,

the four sat by the parsonage fire,

completing their separate assignments.

 

Red Dress

 

It’s summer and I’m wearing my red dress,

lost and helpless under it. Words tonight

not leading me anywhere. I confess:

 

I mistook the soft rain on the skylight

for your body slowly climbing the stairs

to the high room where I sit and watch bright

 

leaves turn from green to black, then disappear.

Your equally lost and helpless body

which was not climbing after all, aware

 

every sigh moves me away like the sea

tossing a small red boat in its boredom.

Take me to the river close to the trees.

 

Let me listen to water, the night come

sliding through the weeds. Cover me with praise

and argument among the cold pines. Then come

 

to me with more than silence, more than noise,

lost and helpless as we are throughout our days.

 

Winter

 

I call my mother on the phone and we sit in silence

as she listens to the nurses’ conversations.

I could be calling her in heaven

where she prefers to listen to angels talking

while they wheel the others in, taking off heavy coats,

welcoming them. She knows I am somewhere

down on earth holding a phone and straining after her.

Distance grows between us.

The voices must be listened to—

her business now—how to survive in heaven.

Forged Light is available from Open Field Press http://www.openfieldpress.org/order-books.html

 

and Small Press Distribution: http://www.spdbooks.org/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=Forged+Light

 

To schedule a poetry reading or exhibition please CONTACT me.

© 2017 by Margaret Lloyd