We Have To Leave The Earth
is Carolyn Jess-Cooke’s third collection and features a tripart collection of poems on interlocking themes. The first third of the book is ‘Songs for the Arctic’ and looks closely at the ice-landscapes being eroded by climate change. Their beauty contains a dark premonition of the future of our planet once these grand seas of ice melt. The poems are written in short, declarative lines, their rhythms echo Norse myth and arrive in single syllables. The second section deals with more personal themes, a daughter who is diagnosed with Autism and whose future is therefore also in peril, yet who seemingly transcends the flat terms of a diagnosis and displays more imagination than authorities expect, inventing a ‘craze’ amongst her friends for an imaginary fish-friend. Such glimmerings of essential hope appear often in this passionately serious, darkly glittering collection. The third part of the book is a nine-poem series that is a portrait of a Victorian activist, Josephine Butler, who, after the death of a daughter, is galvanised to campaign for public causes and to have a brutal law, that allowed intimate examination of girls and women who were suspected of venereal disease, struck from the books. It is a history of courage and compassion in the face of much establishment resistance. We Have To Leave the Earth
is a beautifully moving collection of poems:, thoughtful, topical, and expertly composed.