THE GARDENS OF ONKEL ARNOLD
Poems by David Jacobs
David Jacobs was born in London in 1949 and, in the last twenty years, his poetry has been widely published in literary periodicals and magazines both in the UK and abroad. The Gardens Onkel Arnold is his third Peterloo collection, his first since Haarlem Road (1998) which received accolades in leading journals, including Poetry Review and the Times Literary Supplement. Jacobs's themes are traditional but wide-ranging. Sharply descriptive “natural world'' and sporting studies mingle with a more lyrical tone when dealing with love and fatherhood. His approach to language is straight-forward and unforced, resulting in what Poetry Review described as a “deceptive smoothness of effect”. His work has twice been anthologised by the Oxford University Press, on one occasion in Writing Poems Plus, an educational publication which encourages schoolchildren to write their own poetry and, again, in Sporting Literature edited by Vernon Scannell. Jacobs is also a former prize-winner of the National Poetry Competition.
“The poet is an observer in a landscape where nothing earth-shattering will happen, but where his attention is ravished by the mundane. In his best poems this ordinariness becomes luminous with tenderness. . . There are beautiful unforced effects and always the sense of community, of living in relation to other neighbouring lives. There is a deceptive smoothness of effect: the language is conjured quietly into our imagination where it continues to reverberate.”Graham Mort, Poetry Review
“Buy this one. . . Jacobs has developed control over tone and confidence in the speaking picture. There is a sense of unfolding purpose in his work which can make some other collections seem half-hearted”
Sean O'Brien, Times Literary Supplement
The Gardens of Onkel Arnold
He leaves them only for meal-times and God,
His eightieth birthday not a time for taking stock
Or dealing with the consternation
Of his children. Onkel Arnold, Onkel Arnold,
They call from their different heights.
Who will nurture us when you are gone?
But Onkel Arnold hacks away with his flashing
Moon blade. Spotting him inside his world-sized acreage
Is like a game - is that a rustling bird
Or fox? Then you see him, high astride
The mighty cliffs, re-pointing on a step
Too narrow even for a child’s truck
Perhaps he’s as secure there as an eagle
Standing by a nest of babes, its talons
Marrying surely with the granite ledge.
Or perhaps he doesn’t care, when getting down
In safety takes him to the wife he doesn’t
Speak to any more, and falling brings him to God.
THE GARDENS OF ONKEL ARNOLD
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Front cover illustration: photograph by the author
Publication: SPRING 2004 (67 pages laminated paperback)