Regina researches language and linguistics; she writes ‘short’ poems. Put them together and you have the economy and precision that I’ve come to admire in her work. And also to envy it. My own writing sprawls. I don’t do short, especially ones built out of crafted couplets, and I’m fascinated by poets who can and do. Of the four she shared earlier, I picked this one. (for some reason, WordPress keeps reformatting the poem. It’s in couplets. try to imagine that)
Neither of us paid much attention to birds,
we never chased pigeons,
noticed gulls only as a threat
to our picnic or to our Sunday skirts.
If I remember rightly, your interest
was limited to a duck’s sense of timing,
how it pretended to study the grass
before snatching the bacon from dad’s plate.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long.
It’s all in the movement, the way you swoop
and dive in and out of your daily doings, yes,
you’re some kind of low flyer.
What always struck me was the lack
of doubt. Now I see the hesitation
I took for nonchalance, all that chaperoning,
how pristine you keep your wings.
( first published in Somewhere to keep the rain, [Winchester Poetry Festival 2017, Sarsen Press])
What has always struck me in Regina’s writing is the way she understands line breaks. Look at the work that’s done by the big space between swoop / and dive, all the expanse of air it implies. Or the space between lack / of doubt.Lovely. I like the way that apparent conversational tone, the unselfconsciousness of the voice, works with the accurate, careful diction; that’s where that immersion in language and linguistics pay off. It’s expressive and tight at the same time, like a confident etching.