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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 3. 1965.

First Work Promising

First Work Promising

The Eye of the Hurricane. Poems by Fleur Adcock. Published by A. H. & A. W. Reed. 12/6. Reviewed by Cathie Gordon.

This is Fleur Adcock's first published collection of verse though her work has appeared in "New Zealand Listener." "Landfall" and Other "publications. This young New Zealand poet has a gift of quiet delicately-phrased lyric, such as shown in "Summer is Gone":

"Here trees have no use for their leaves,

Branches are numb, the sap sealed in.

The sky constricting, the wind unanchored:

Summer is gone to another country."

Too often, however, in these poems her technique is not matched by her material.

Many of the poems are either love lyrics too tied to unexplained personal incidents to have emotional impact on the reader, or poems of comment dependent on recondite allusions to the classics. But where she describes adult experience through the imagery of the nursery story — "Beauty Abroad" and "The Beanstalk," her wit delights.

"No: on the fallen beanstalk

The hen with yellow eye

Clucks a dull derision

Of ladders to the sky."

Fleur Adcock's essentially feminine poetic style does succeed in one difficult and rarely achieved field—the poetic depiction and understanding of child and parents—as in "For Andrew" and "For a Five Year Old," which declare a mother's concern towards the child's "kind of faith."

"From me—who purveyed

The harshest kind of truth to many another

But that is how things are: I am your mother

And we are kind to snails."