Depth Charge, by Chris Emery, is a beautifully produced poetry pamphlet containing a selection of the author’s more recent creations. Themes rising to the surface include an evocative appreciation of nature in all its shades. People are presented at a remove, the reader engaged as observer. There are undercurrents of sadness in what is being lost to the past.
The collection opens with an elegy for an aging coastal hotel. The damp, grey weather provides a backdrop to the echoes of former times. Language is rich and woven together to create images requiring several read-throughs to fully appreciate. The sense of place conveyed is impressive.
There follow a number of poems that portray various aspects of nature. Alongside the wonder lies the question – why it is being treated badly? There is an urgency along with desire for more attention to be paid to surroundings. Creatures are glimpsed and their attributes valued. The tenacity of delicate flowers is admired as they return each year despite being wantonly damaged.
Self-Portrait with Angela provides an injection of humour albeit with a sting in its tail. The narrator is looking back on a summer marked by a crush on the titular girl.
“Flared jeans and Clarks shoes,
my sweaty hat pressed flat
over helmet hair
and seven o’clock lust.”
“my wasted summer, my staring nights,
it all ran out with the whinnying
district horses, the heavy wheels
of that final cart of local coal
no one noticed.”
Memories of loved ones as they age are written with a refreshing realism. The collection is completed with an imagining of how an afterlife might be. In this, there is none of the beauty that the previous poems reflected – perhaps it is a warning to make the most of what we have, while we still can.
A strong and satisfying set of poems that merits reader time and attention. Fulsome and rich but never cloying – like a good red wine.
Depth Charge has been privately published in a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered copies. It may be purchased from the author.