Northwords Now Issue 38

The FREE literary magazine of the North


Lynn Davidson Shearsman (2019)

A Review by Lydia Harris

In Lyn Davidson’s ‘Leaving Bass Rock Gannet Colony’ the birds rise and orbit the rock as the poet takes her own flight from the place. The couplets dive with images of falling, disintegration and recreation.

Bass Rock into feathery pieces

The poems in this collection are spare and meditative with surges of tenderness. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters are present as part of the fabric of deep time, deep connection. Islands to mainland, north to south. Lynn Davidson makes deft use of white space. Her poems grow out of silence and return there, resonating like solemn bells. Her images are poised and arresting. ‘Standing Places’ describes uses for sticking plasters.

One for my father who is worn out
and misses my mother.

The poems offer us a whole globe, as the poet moves between islands and between hemispheres. They offer us the exposed human heart in its many habitations. The opening poem ‘My Stair’ moves between father and daughter. The stair and the buses, close to the daughter’s home, are transformed into luminous images of loss and grief.

a lodger here where buses lightly lumber
into the yellow depot

‘Pearls’ combines the world of the physicist with the intimate world of the human ear. The intimate world of the poet’s son’s ear. It is a beautiful metaphysical meditation on kinship and time. The pearls in the child’s ear are nestled at the heart of the collection.