Review by Rob Lock on Sphinx website, run by HappenStance Press
‘Kerry Darbishire here collaborates with fellow Cumbrian resident, Kelly Davis, who hold hands to trip down memory lane, taking turns to recollect steps in their lives... While smiling at memories provoked by both sets of poems, it was two Kelly Davis poems that stood out for me. Her poignant Calling Them In and The Girl Within – “...Once she was loved. / Not with the measured love that endures / but the gasping, choking love / that stops the heart – and stops the clock”... A time machine this: open it to step into your own memories.’ Sam Smith, The Journal
‘The poems bounce off one another and are painfully honest, nostalgic, at times humorous and invariably compassionate. Darbishire’s Love Me Do brings back carefree days of fun and dancing, when ‘Dreams of romance fill the room / like a thousand butterflies’... A teenage life is lived intensely, with every second counting, something well illustrated in Davis’s Centre Court when two girls are given discarded tickets and ‘magically’, or so it seems to them, end up close to their tennis idols. Afterwards neither could tell the outcome of the game – only ‘the taste of the strawberries’, symbolic of course of their desire. Moving through, I found particularly poignant, lines about menopause and ageing. ‘Nature urges us to spend the last sweetness of our bodies / when the world wishes we would go quietly’. Yes, many women will recognise the notion that society wants us to be invisible (The Change). Davis also describes old age as a time when our bodies / have spent all their secrets’ (Seven Ages of Women). However, the poem that will never leave me from this collection is 9th September 1972 about the tragic drowning of a child. The poet reflects on the effect of that death on the child’s mother to whom she addresses this poem: “For you, her crayon drawing showed a figure falling through water / proof that your child knew / and welcomed her fate”. By her own testament though, it teaches the narrator, the child’s sister, “a different lesson: the randomness of tragedy” and how things could easily have been different.’ Susan Jane Sims, Second Light Live
‘I love the excoriating honesty of Kelly’s work, set against the quiet intensity of Kerry’s. These women have been there, as we have, and their lives catch us unawares. Both are such distinct and individual voices, yet together their power is more than the sum of their parts. This collection is a hymn, a paean, to the passion and thrust of life, with all its joys and sadness.’ Angela Locke
‘Glory Days is an exploration, in poetry, of the different phases of a woman’s life. Kelly Davis and Kerry Darbishire write about the experience of growing up female and the different roles and expectations girls have to face up to. At the centre of the collection is a series of moving poems about the relationships of mothers and daughters. These poems are both intimate and powerful.’ Kathleen Jones
‘Two poets explore their lives from childhood right through to their own motherhood, and then the problem of looking after ageing parents. Together the poems make a highly poignant collection, marked above all by striking honesty.’ Gill McEvoy
The book is 38pp, priced at £4 per copy (plus £1 postage and packing), published by Hen Run at Grey Hen Press.
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