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November 22, 2020


#Poetry Penelope Layland

by N@ncy


  • NOTE:  After having read all the poems
  • I finally discovered the impact of the title.
  • Ms Layland’s skill in exploring mourning, grief and loss is captured in the
  • Things I Thought To Tell You Since I Saw You Last
  • #Bravo to a great poet!



  1. This book contains 64 short poems…very readable!
  2. The poet gives us poems dealing with:
  3. quizzing memory
  4. understanding the concept of time
  5. deep human connections
  6. exploring mourning and loss


Future anterior – very good, cleverly done!

  1. I start by investigating the title…future anterior.
  2. …an action/event that will be completed ind the future.
  3. Ms Layland cleverly writes a poem about trees
  4. mentioning the Huon (Pine)
  5. If you read about the tree that only is found in Tasmania
  6. before you read the poem  you will discover
  7. the poet’s skill  jusing the Huon as as an example of ‘future anterior’!
  8. Huon Pine….the oldest tree in the world!


In Miss Havisham’s Garden – …description of garden after owner is gone…


  1. Very good!
  2. things that must be done after death of loved one,
  3. poem will linger in my mind.


A modern offer

  1. I found this a strange title. What does ‘modern’ mean?
  2. occuring in the present
  3. recently developed style
  4. characteristic to the present-day
  5. ahead of its times
  6. This was a difficult poem to understand.
  7. The poet speaks of a ‘harp-and-cord version’
  8. …then compares it to  a ‘contemporary rendering’ (version)
  9. Words like corporeality, merging of essences, eternal life
  10. …made me think Ms Layland was making a case to accept a
  11. ‘Modern offer’ (cremation) instead of a burial death (….harp-and-cord version).
  12. I would love to hear if somebody had any thoughts on this poem
  13. …it was a hard nut to crack!


Rising of the Lights (London 1665)

  1. It took time to figure out the layout…
  2. …poem is just an summation of dreaded  historic diseases.
  3. Depressing….not lyrical content at all!
  4. Now, what happened in London in 1665?
  5. The Great Plague, lasting from 1665 to 1666,
  6. was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in England.
  7. Structure: shape and visual rhythm is the first thing I noticed.
  8. Title: The disease “Rising of the Lights” was a standard entry on
  9. bills of mortality  in the 17th century.
  10. Lights is an old name for lungs.
  11. The poem is 6 stanzas with 1 or 4 word sentences.
  12. This has a staccato effect to impress on the reader
  13. a list of  diseases that competed with the Bubonic Plague!



  1. Aubade, a poem or song evoking the daybreak, greeting the dawn.
  2. This is a 10 lines poem that radiates beauty!
  3. Dawn ” thread of incadescence”
  4. …that “ruptures into morning”.
  5. I watch with a ‘indrawn breath’.
  6. This is exactly what happened when
  7. I watched many sunrises this summer during a pandemic lockdown!!
  8. Leeuwarden, The Netherlands,  July 02 2020

Several more poems….quickscan:

  1. Irregular –  average...poem of 10 lines….no impact on me
  2. One Tree Hill average...poem of 13 lines….no impact on me
  3. By Request – average...poem of 12 lines….refers to flowers at a funeral, prefer poppies.
  4. Breath – Relief stunning…..poem of loss and how a breath, sigh, relief can alleviate the grief.
  5. Pearl –  Ms Layland says it is NOT  love poem, but I disagreeAbsolutely beautiful….
  6. Cowries – ….the sea shells of New South Wales. Description of shell: an almond unzipped”.


Cold zeal (strong feeling of eagerness)

  1. This is a poem about aging.
  2. We read “eyesight fails
  3. ….the “compass of the immediate world shrinks.”
  4. Ms Lalyland with her power of observation
  5. ….reminds us of the beauty that is there to see:
  6. ice etchings on a fence
  7. oily swirl  on a river’s current
  8. brief looks of interest from strangers
  9. — complexities of  mist.
  10. This is one of the poems that will linger in my mind, exquisite.

Last Thoughts:

  1. Poems of loss, grief just go straight through my heart.
  2. pg 21 “Pre-Ceremonial“,  pg 24 “This Loss.
  3. Grief never leaves you…it alters you.
  4. Ms Layland has given me some excellent poems to read
  5. and expresses her grief and mourning in very short 1-page poems.
  6. How does she  compress so much emotion in 10 – 20 lines?
  7. Yet, these poems do not leave you downtrodden
  8. …but strangely lift one’s spirits up.
  9. Grief is part of life.
  10. I cannot discover is she has lost a husband, child or parents
  11. …but  no one can write about loss and grief as she does
  12. …without out experiencing it.
  13. Please, if you never read poetry
  14. …give this 68 page book a chance.
  15. It will alter you.
  16. With poetry… don’t have to go through a windshield to
  17. ...realize that life is precious.
  18. Poetry keeps tapping you on the shoulder with that same message.
  19. #MustRead….and #MustRe-Read
Read more from #AusReadingMonth, poetry
5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 23 2020

    How beautiful! Thank you for highlighting a new-to-me poet.


    • Nov 23 2020

      I remembered you were interested how authors processed grief…
      …well, this Ms Layland just knocked my socks off. Emotions bubble up….I could not stop them.
      That is the true sign of a great poet.

      Liked by 1 person


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #AusReadingMonth2020 Wrap-up | NancyElin
  2. Non-Fiction (General) Round Up: November 2020 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog
  3. AusReading Month – Wrap Up Post – Brona (This Reading Life)

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