Simon C Fysh BA ( Hons), Conway, North Wales
Another Seeing and other poems - Lucilla Maclaren Spillane
Lucilla Maclaren Spillane’s collection demonstrates a very wide scope in style and subject matter and a keen sense of the human condition and of the natural world. She also allows the reader into her own world, giving them a key to unlock and observe some of the inner processes that drive us all.
Some of her social comment has a timeless quality: “The Widow”, “Mothers life lost” and “The Beggar” all contain a hard social message, reminiscent of George Sims’s “Christmas in the Workhouse” and Thomas Hardy’s sensitive treatment of loneliness in old age. “The Beggar” is said to depict a Vietnam War veteran, but is timeless and applies to veterans of all conflicts. “In a thousand years” reminds one of Mary Wilson’s “After the bomb” and even John Betjeman’s comments on Slough. “In memory of the Last Soldier” would surely have moved A E Housman.
The poems dealing with the natural world are a true delight. Reading “Rain-Water River,” I could picture otters swimming and dancing in clear waters. “The Pathway” contains a message not unlike “Road less travelled” described by Robert Frost. “Snow-light” and “The Butterfly” are quite simply magical. Finally we are let into the child's world of fantasy, for “The crack in the wall” has echoes of C.S Lewis’s “Narnia” and Lewis Carroll’s “Wonderland” and there even hints of Edward Lear!
Overall a wonderful collection which will accompany me for many years.
Lucilla Maclaren Spillane's nature poems, such as "The Curlew" and "The Butterfly," often have the vibrancy of fresh perception, conveying an almost childlike sense of wonder derived from close observation. And there is commonly the suggestion of something deeper-such as an emotional connection, as in "The Secret Place," or a spiritual perception, as in "Listening for Silence."
In her poems about individuals, too, she insists that we pay closer attention-to the beggar with no legs, the widow neglected in old age, and others. And she has the courage to share her own past experience, of physical disability and struggle due to epilepsy, in an intense and revealing poem called "Seizures."
There is much in this collection that invites re-reading-and prompts readers to appreciate more intensely their own experience in both the social realm and the natural world.
by John E. Hallwas, Professor Emeritus, Western Illinois University
'Lucilla Maclaren Spillane has a wide-ranging lyrical voice, expressing rare sensitivity to the natural world and its creatures and changing moods, and the perceptive human being's response to them. Her poems are well-crafted and often arresting. Another Seeing will have wide appeal to lovers of the well-tuned poetic voice'.
by BARRY SPURR. Professor of Poetry and Poetics, THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
‘I find [Lucilla’s poetry] has words with meaning and I take great comfort from it.
She uses simple words, easy to understand, but with great depth.’
by Mrs. Celine Hollowell, Northampton
‘Poetry is not really my thing, but the poem, “Another seeing,” movingly evokes the spirit of my dear friend.’ by Dr. David Mervin, University of Warwick, (author of the Guardian obituary for Roger Duclaud Williams, whose coping with blindness inspired the title-poem, “Another Seeing”):
by Dr. David Mervin
‘I enjoyed reading Lucilla’s poems, and like to think I can hear in a number of them the sort of spare, lyrical tone that bewitches me in Housman, or later in Ian Hamilton Finlay.
They are poems with a seductive, unsettling and timeless musicality.’
by Dr. Lilias Fraser, Edinburgh