Tuesday, 16 November 2010
'Crossing the Snowline' is the evocative poem from Pauline Stainer's same-titled anthology of 2008. Recreated here in Photoshop by me, it was an attempt to lend extra emphasis to the words by re-rendering them typographically. Stainer's reference to 'the Sculptors of Kilpeck' relates to the church of Saints Mary and David's in the village of the same name in Herefordshire. Built around 1190, the church is notable for its extraordinary corbel carvings of human faces, animals, fish and mythological creatures. Eighty five of the original ninety one corbels astonishingly survive, including a spectacular example of a sheela-na-gig. The visual impact of Stainer's stanza 'the jubilation of wolves spilling into the cloister' is equally spectacular, as is the notion of a statue of 'the sleeping Christ' 'chiseled from the living tree'. Stainer opined that the collection of poems was 'the record of [a] journey out of a long fallow following the death of [her] daughter'. In a contemporaneous review of the book, it is said that the poems 'cast a blue light, the light of mourning, and that the collection is 'poised between these insistent blues and the yellows of the sun prayers with which it closes, enacting the long journey from death to rebirth, grief to hope, out of the 'solstice on its hinge/of salt and fire' and back into the light'.