So far I have got to page 30. I took them back to bed with me because Hodmandod Senior was still there and I had made us both some tea. Now Hodmandod Senior likes poetry. In fact I think he is a better critic than me. One of his favourites is Les Murray and he also likes Philip Larkin, but he never tries writing any himself and sometimes I wonder what he'd write if he did. So I read some of Kay's poetry out to him and he agreed with me that it was very fine indeed, and in fact liked it so much he picked it up when I stopped to drink my tea and got so engrossed I had trouble yanking it back off him.
Every poem has some rather wonderful imagery: roads are like taut ropes, blossoms soft as empty gloves, brooms have all their bristles leaning towards the ocean, all wonderfully economic and symbolic.
Each poem has much to commend it but so far the ones I like best are about Kay's father. He was a farmer and a poem called 'rough craft' describes his ploughing his field, and, as the poem progresses, it is as if the poem is following the plough and uncovering more and more. The symbols sharpen and become deeper, revealing much and ending at last with the memorable, startling and entirely apt image of 'the earth's slit throat' .
Another favourite is 'evidence' - which is again about Kay's father and his reaction to his mother's death. It has the understatement and restraint of one of Ishiguro's novels and ends with her father in the fields again, the day after the funeral, 'whistling through his teeth.'
Slowly a picture appears. It is affectionate but unsentimental. The honesty shines through. There is no anger or resentment, just a touch of sadness. It is oddly life-affirming and inspiring.