The Arrival of Brighteye and other Poems, A Graph Review

A Graph Review,   50s with high points of 60s

Published by     Bloodaxe Books    2000.         paperback £7.95

978 185224538 2                                  A collection of 31 poems


I found catching the native Caribbean accent from this collection daunting at the start but with concentration and the numerous smooth transitions to standard English as separate and within poems, the unfamiliar soon became much easier and that voice inside my head settled into an agreeable attempt at the diferent words and patterns.  However it still remained a challenging but interesting read into, for me, a different world.

Poems of  Caribbean scenes: Childhood, school, surroundings, emigration, life transplanted and death.  Not forgetting the likes of housework and love; the latter cropping up in its many guises. ‘The Arrival of Brighteye’ is the keynote poem as well as the cover title.  It is a story-poem, part prose, that offers hope and excitement of a new world and family reunion but ends on a sad line of familial  love.

Poems that seemed extravagant as I read turned into colourful pictures of places and people. The writing is spirited throughout,  affirming sisterhood no matter what.

The first, Bush Babies,  sets the scene and the poems move along picking out moments like apples from a tree.  Understanding and sexuality flit through many, especially early poems.  More use of Caribbean accent is in the second half of the collection, allowing readers to tune in to the language.  I have not seen her perform her work but expect Jean Breeze to be as colourful and exuberant as these poems

I always have to pick out some I like, so:

The garden path,     Sky love,        The arrival of bright eyes,   leading on to   playing the messiah and the last poem in the collection…Duppy Dance

Shame I can’t include ‘Ole Warrior’ or ‘on cricket, sex and housework’, or several others too…….. Yes, I would recommend all of them!  A thoroughly good read!

Short extract from Upstream (for Stevie):

“If you could hear the drumbeats on my mind

Give me one more flight of time

One more chime of music

One more glimpse of dawn

One more walk

through open spaces”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s