With these Words

Written by Sue Gerrard
Charles North Publishing £5

Reviewed by Andrew Dunlop

With this, her latest volume of poetry, Sue Gerrard explores a universal theme that touches almost everyone at some point in their lives. Sue, an accomplished, award-winning poet, examines the many ways in which love permeates our lives. It can affect everything we do, colour everything we see and she uses a broad palate to paint a vivid rainbow of the myriad minutiae of this potent emotion. This is a very personal view yet at the same time everyone who reads this will have no difficulty in identifying with it. Sue has the ability to take ethereal experiences that have touched everyone and turn them into tangible words that evoke power and resonance. For many, memories that they may think have been lost in time and experiences yet to be felt will be brought to the fore with vibrant clarity and warmth.

As always, Sue’s writing comes from acute observation and personal experience. By laying her own feelings bare she takes us on an emotional voyage that is filled with sentiments that we can all share.

She begins the collection with ‘From Darkness into Light’ which explores the Yin and Yang of a relationship and the way in which each person’s faults and failings can fit together like a jigsaw and seem irrelevant in the presence of the right person.

Sue mourns the decline of the written word in our modern life-style with ‘Lost Love’. The telephone, particularly in its mobile guise, has promoted the spoken word above its written counterpart resulting in the loss of the time and attention that goes into writing a love letter. It would appear that nowadays the sim card is mightier than the pen.

‘Storm Over Calvi’ reveals the passion that lies beneath a tropical storm while the contrasting ‘For Better or For Worse’ illustrates the loyalty and devotion that underlies any lasting relationship.

‘Needle and Thread’, through the clever use of metaphor, reveals to us the symbiotic nature of relationships.

In the hands of a skilled poet, words have the power to emote even when used sparingly. ‘On The Beach’ may be the shortest poem of the collection but is memorable for the depth of feeling it manages to convey in so few words.

The collection finishes with ‘December’ which reassuringly celebrates the magical way that love can be a panacea for the passage of time.

With these twenty-six short poems, Sue shines a penetrating light on the many aspects of love – that most precious of emotions – and like the refracting facets of a diamond, each of these poems separates that emotional spectrum and brings those aspects to vivid life. Sue shows us that love can be a liberating, life-enhancing experience; it can also be lonely and heart-rending but after reading ‘With These Words’ the reader is reminded that this is an emotion that every reader has shared in one form or another. No matter what form love may take, Sue’s work reassures us that once experienced, the profundity of love never really leaves us.

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