In her second poetry collection, Caroline Davies turns her attention to the war memorials of London. Voices from Stone and Bronze brings to life those who fought and died and those who survived, including some of the sculptors who had themselves come through trench warfare to a changed world. Meticulously researched and deeply humane, these narrative poems apply a lyrical sensibility without sentimentalism; a deeply affective collection.
I press the sculptor's finger to the bayonet
to show him how blunt it is.
How suddenly his blood wells up.
He snatches his hand back, sucks the cut.
His fingers must be softer than mine.
I can't feel how sharp it is.
I stammer apologies for doing him harm.
He holds his finger up.
"A flesh wound," he says softly.
Caroline Davies is writing poetry like no one else's, embedded in shared, lived history. Her poems are quiet, direct, understated, and full of restrained power and emotional depth. Very moving, beautifully written, and unique in contemporary British poetry, this sequence deserves attention.
Katy Evans Bush
Having accompanied Caroline over the past few years in her exploration of the former battlefields of the Western Front I have seen her interest in remembrance burgeon. From the blood-soaked fields of the Somme and Ypres to the oft-overlooked war memorials that stand in every British city, town and village, Caroline's work exudes a powerful connection with the Great War generation and the way in which their loss and forbearance is commemorated.