The poems in Liz Lefroy's Mending The Ordinary (Fair Acre Press, 2014) ripple out from pivotal moments. They begin with "Years on I return...", "Son, you don't know this, but last night..." or "Two weeks away, and when I return it's dark...".
This pamphlet is rooted in the specifics of time and place, of episodes that might initially seem everyday but are then charged with ramifications. One such example is "The School Concert, in which a mother's pride at watching her son's performance opens out to an understanding of what has come before:
"I shut my eyes, controlled my breathing
as at your birth.
It was as useless
as it was then and my life burst out of me..."
Lefroy often makes use of a linguistic change of gear at a key point in the poem. In "Grace", for instance, she shifts from mundane turns of phrase to highly charged imagery as she reaches for meaning, starting with...
"Today we played Frisbee on the beach.
You weren't there. I skimmed it to you anyway..."
This same poems ends as follows:
"...a sudden lift of wind,
an unexpected flight."
Lefroy is never unambitious. Mending The Ordinary takes experiences, launches them and explores those afore-mentioned ripples. What's more, abstracts are melded to concrete details in her exploration.
The closing lines of the pamphlet's final piece, "The Square Root of Paradise", offer us an excellent example of her poetic method. In this case, a context is not being provided for a moment as much as for all the poems that have come before, casting a new light on the collection's title:
"...like syrup twisted onto a spoon, lifted up high,
tipped to a skeining - a long stitch of sweetness
mending the ordinary."
There's a freshness to Liz Lefroy's verse that very much does lift it out of the ordinary. The reader is unexpectedly moved by every poem. That's a considerable achievement.
There's a myth I've grown up with that the black notes are harder. "They're not," says my son, categorically, this evening. He realises that I am a pupil ...