Tuesday, 31 March 2015

31 March,2015 Comments on reading David Mason's marvelous new book, Davey McGravy.

I read Davey McGravy by David Mason last night in a fever of excitement, with a sense of delight and wonder, enthralled and on the point of tears, because it is also so achingly moving and sad.
Years ago in my first book, I wrote two poems that showed that every childhood has a good and bad side --there is happiness in the worst childhood and sadness in the best. That was early work. This is mature work by a mature poet and one thing the book illustrates is the entwining of mourning and grief into the very root and growth of growing up, how it begins with a great early wound that enables the painful first steps and burgeoning of a nascent boy poet. Or any human being. That last very important because this is a supremely human and humane fairy tale of a book --a book for us all, and an instant classic.
Davey has lost his Mother and as he misses her, mourns and grieves for her, he also learns the wonders of his imagination, the solace and freedom of silence and dream, the kindness and support of the wilderness, family friends, neighbours and teachers and the world of animals. In verse supremely fluid and musical, often in quatrains but also organically at times free and flowing, he takes us with him on an incredible magic but also painful journey (which becomes our own human journey) towards healing. Pilgrim's Progress is an ancient ghost here, Melville perhaps, but also C S Lewis -- though what is found at the end of this book, is not the male Christian symbol of Aslan, but the equally potent wild female mountain lioness. When Davey faces death at her hands but instead gets tenderly carried home by her to safety, several thousand years of fearing woman dies a nasty death, and the boy, the man, has reclaimed and been reclaimed by the equally strong female principle, despised and lost to our world long ago.
As he gently bids us go with him with the repeated word 'Love', a mono-chorus ,a beckon, a holding hand, a warmth, a kindness, he reaffirms the sovereignty of good in the world, and what will help it grow and heal. Boys need the female principle to grow well and heal, and the world does too. There is no easy answer, no great conclusion --but Davey has his brothers, Father, and female friend (with a mobile phone to scare away bullies!), his words, his visions, his music. It's a start.
Lastly, the language is simple, a child could understand it, but it is never too simple, or dull; it is as fresh, interesting and beguiling as his vision, and sometimes accumulates like a live thing growing almost around itself, or tumbles about like a flowing stream. It can leave you breathless, running, or attentive and still.
And all you want to do when you finish this wonderful book, is go back to it, again and again, and again. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Buy it and enjoy. Available on-line in the UK now too.

No comments:

Post a Comment