The Book That Made Me: James Mayhew 17/07/19
A Year of Nature Poems
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
This beautifully illustrated portrait of one year in nature is put together by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho, with each month assigned a relevant and resonant poem.
Each of these 12 poems is paired with a few observations about the month – the daffodils of March, the apples of August, the leaf fall of October – and the rich, beautiful folk-art illustrations of Kelly Louise Judd.
These are poems that inspire reflection. Some of the themes that prompt them are quite serious, from climate change to the decline of amphibians. The poems themselves often hover around memories, presumably from Joseph Coelho's own childhood. Some are celebratory and some are sad: 'You could only dig so much / of the pond / before the pain drowned you'; but later, 'The leaves were piled / bonfire high – / whizzing russets, shooting oranges, exploding yellows / that she scooped / in armfuls / and cascaded over me / in a dry-leaf firework display / of love.'
As to be expected with Coelho's writing, a lot of the imagery is heart-flutteringly lovely and powerful. The book is less of an almanac and more like fuel for creative children who want to channel their own emotions into writing, inspired by the variety in the world around them. It reassuringly shows that emotions come and go, just like the seasons – and the bad times always pass.