An Appreciation by Tony Brady
In the recent All Ireland Poetry Slam Final, held in Blakes of The Hollow, watering place and home of Fermanagh Writer’s, Poet Teresa Kane was placed in the final three competitors. My personal view, and no reflection on the excellent judges, polemics delivered by the first and second contenders won over poetry – otherwise Teresa would have gained first place.
Teresa Kane – a Member of Fermanagh Writers – is a poet who finds inspiration in the natural world and its ever changing presence. She communes with nature, transposing her reflected emotions into verse, fixing them in poetry on the pages for the reader to savour. Her humanity is mirrored in her poems and attributes of her unique character pervade: elegance, taste, goodness, kindness of heart. Throughout her poems there is a consistent thread of empathy with stillness and movement: water, light, air and seasonal change abound, blended together in an harmonic sense of the moving power of music.
This unpublished Collection – Point Of Absence – provides a variety of experiences signified by sensations of separation caused by death of loved ones and significant others against a background of rural life and family situations. Teresa conveys the connectivity of absence as: “Gossamer threads that have ribbonned through generations.” The Dressmaker. Another poem recalls a deliberate absence by a water bird: “ You left the flock to feather your own nest.” There is acute observation in the lines – “I watched , waiting in the rhythm of your stillness.” Porcelain Eggs. A permanent absence of a dead uncle who danced at weddings is cherished as “the dance ends on an arpeggio – a staccato note.” A Heavy Coat.
The poet’s inner life is glimpsed in the poem: A Surrendering. Lines associated with such simple tasks as lighting a turf fire – “Each sod smoulders in memory layer by layer, it surrenders smoke secrets into the sky of a slow half moon.” The task “..speaks poetry; pitched words banked in wisdom”. In Ancient Child the cost of a bartered for alabaster doll is not an imagined exchange of emblems: the moon, the sun and the stars, rather maternal emotion “In the end the currency I used was love; loose coins falling golden into the safe hold of my soul.”
Each of the poems display variations in mood, tone and pace. Free verse is the favoured form. Sometimes, a poem is a series of questions. For example Voice. “Am I still? Am I an echo in time? Is that where I am?” Elsewhere, as in Limited Travel it is completion: “I have travelled through time; I have walked barefooted; I have skimmed my wings and I have lived off berries. ” By contrast, there are imperatives, as in Wake Me.
Your range is quite impressive: it reaches easily across natural perspectives and into personal human depths of sentiment, emotion and introspection. Your voice, as expressed in this selection, I have read it more than several times, is quiet, restrained, at times commanding, but always controlled. Echoes of past experienced places are vividly presented.
The sensual tone in some of the poems borders effectively on the erotic sensations that inspire your poetry. The shared experience in those areas holds the reader’s attention, because the power of suggestion rather than explicit description attracts rather than repels. This is the secret of conveying an erotic sense and vision.
Your ability to vary the pace of narrative is a definite strength. You can also contain more than one effect in short poems. You have an affinity to landscape and possess a skill for conveying its atmosphere and it earthly characteristics. Every now and then a sense of your spiritual and mystical awareness informs your poetry.
Lastly your poetry shows your ability to recall past experience and recast it to move the reader in the present moment.
Overall, the Collection entitled – Point of Absence – compels this reader writing an Appreciation, to compare and contrast the work with established poets such as Seamus Heaney and Patrick Kavanagh, simply because of their geographical proximity and Teresa Kane’s deference to their inspiration and influence. Even so, her own words are the best conclusion:
“Find old words, barnacled onto
the richness of stone. Drop them
one by one into waters still with secrets.
I will listen as ripples unfold back
onto themselves.” The Dance.