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This review is taken from PN Review 119, Volume 24 Number 3, January - February 1998.

THE POETRY OF PETER DALE PETER DALE, Edge to Edge (Anvil) £9.95

Lasting poetry can be lived with over years, it does not tire, but on each rereading, reveals new depths. The number of poets, living and dead, about whom this can be said, is not large. It would include Peter Dale and now in Edge to Edge we have a wide-ranging selection of his finest work.

To give some indication of the range and quality of Dale's poetry, I exhibit two poems in their entirety, the first from his earliest collection, The Storms (1968), the second from the more recent Earth Light (1991):

Last Respects

I know these hands, their feel,
knew the cuts beneath the scars
and wondered when the split nail
    would heal.

They used to lark
with birds of shadow on the wall
for children scared of the dark.

Fall now -
and all the birds are flown.

Hunched shadows black the wall.


A Woman Speaks To God The Father

Lord of the entire universe,
was there no one else to take?
No lively son in the womb's hearse,
no supple girl for you to break?

But you must take my dolphin man?
No boy to fall to you in play,
no white head broken like a fan,
no sinewed arm for you to fray?

Must I be jealous all my life
...


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