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This review is taken from PN Review 32, Volume 9 Number 6, July - August 1983.

RELATIONSHIPS Frances Horovitz, Water Over Stone, (Enitharmon Press) £2.25

There is a side of Frances Horovitz that leans to a stock symbolism and its oracular deployment, but at her best, she is close to such fine and genuinely religious poets as Frances Bellerby and Mary Casey, with their sense of the uniqueness of each being and thing, and corresponding particularity.


An example from 'Walking in Autumn':
A wren, unseen, churrs alarm:
each tree drains to blackness.
Halfway now, we know
by the leaning crab-apple,
feet crunching into mud
the hard slippery yellow moons.


The details are keenly physical, evoking a fearful tingle; impressed first on the senses, wren, crab-apple, and yellow moons then suggest their mythic potency.

Many of Frances Horovitz's poems arise from primary relationships, of man and woman, more poignantly, of parent and child. Her most powerful poem, 'Elegy' (for her father), has a realism and emotional honesty that call to my mind George Eliot's conviction that women can face and help with the most painful emotional and mental suffering better than men:


And now you weep before me.
With wasted arms and draw me down
till, legs strained,
I fear to fall onto your white bed.
Your pursed old-man's lips seek mine,
you say 'Forgive me'
and I cannot think for what

- nor what comfort I may give:


The poem ends: 'I ...


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