These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Song of the Slums

Song of the Slums by Richard Harland
Allen & Unwin. 2013.

a gas filled airship
leers over
Swale House 
swollen with the warts of wealth

she played a harp in those days

but chance
 Astor into
the beauty of gang music

in the slag heaps of Slumtown

and she finds
the drums

Astor through
Granny Rouse's world
gives her the friendship of
the eerie Mav
the dynamic 
curious excitement of

and the 
chance for a role in
the Rowdies

she lives
the drums


a world cluttered with
steam-powered charabancs
stream-lined velocipedes
basketwork rickshaws

swollen with militia
and political mania

slum music 
the tiaras and
conventional pomposities

stirring the soul of the street

giving it a voice

giving her
a voice

a drumming soul

Linking to:
Poets United - Poetry Pantry


Song of the SlumsSong of the Slums by Richard Harland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's the Age of Steam with a vibrant heartbeat growing in the slums. Astor has been groomed in the harp, but when she is left in the wealthy Swale household under rather strange marriage circumstances, and escapes, she inadvertently grooms a whole new lifestyle with matriarch Granny Rouse and her slum gang. It is there that Astor finds her real music, her real rhythms and her soul.

View all my reviews


Kerry O'Connor said...

This looks like a very readable Steampunk novel. I shall look out for it.

Mary said...

Gemma, this is very moving! Do do have a way of bringing a book alive in poetry. I like how you have repeated the word 'drums' throughout. Your poem has certainly stirred my interest....

Charleen said...

Interesting book preview. Intriguing, really.

Brian Miller said...

ha. your poetic book reviews are it voice, giving her voice...i like that...and i like the use of music in this as well...

Grace said...

Thank you for the lovely review ~ Very interesting storyline ~

Anonymous said...

Gemma, I had never come across a Poetic book review. I like the idea of the main character finding her voice in the end, despite the hardships and ordeals in between!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I especially like the closing, where she finds her voice and has "a drumming soul". Stirring tale.

kaykuala said...

An intriguing preview Gemma! A preview steeped in Poetry and musical insights. How nicely done!


Justin Huskey said...

Interesting... a poetic review:) I like it. Sounds like a good read indeed.

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