Sawing Fallen Logs For Ladybird Houses

frontcover_sfl_300My third book is a poetry collection divided into five sections. Many of the poems should be read in conjunction with photographs taken during the writing of the book. To view some of these images click here.

The idea was to document a time and a place within Wales by using poetry and photography, similar to what John Evans had achieved with Black Harvest in 1992. I applied for a bursary from Literature Wales to help towards achieving my goal but was unsuccessful due to the fact that they gave money to 19 already published writers instead! After this disappointment I decided not to ‘bother’ them with my art anymore and do everything my own way.

‘From the first eponymously titled poem, we realise that Dave Lewis’s work possesses an energy and freshness that lifts his imagery and empathy way above the work of many less ambitious poets.

The element of surprise in each poem is even more startling coming as it does from such uncluttered writing. Last lines are an example, while phrases such as ‘trees as tall as ships’, ‘a severe lack of hares’, ‘the brittle grass of misunderstanding…’ will surely enhance the readers’ own perceptions of the world around them.

This collection’s structure too, works well under its five separate headings, and the diverse forms used in several poems adds visual variety. A wonderful read. Buy it!’ – Sally Spedding


This book can be purchased direct from the author as a paperback for just £5.99 (free postage) or as an e-book on Amazon kindle for £3.99.


Sample poems:

Pembroke

off the rocky coast,

sipping salty beer

the wind grabs my gaze

and hauls me off

across the sea

past Ireland and America

while towing in my

mackerel line

for supper safe

in dunes

by camp fire

sleep


Learning in Gaps

‘Sit down Williams you liddle shit!’

‘Shudent call im at sir’

‘Ease gaw problems sir’

said Ann Marie the slag

still twirlin’ her copper curls

through her tongue and teeth.

 

The day had started well

Irvine was absent,

the slappers quiet in the corner,

and the sun glistening

on the frost covered grass

outside the Biol. lab.

 

‘Aaaaaarrgh!’

‘Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off!’

‘Come ere mun,’ I said

as we lapped the desks

like Coe and Ovett.

‘No way sir, you’ll lamp me.’

 

The rabbit headed for the door

he bolted out into the yard

into the headlights of the morning sun

the whole room followed

like a pack sensing blood

but he’d gone

screaming up the road

a car did an emergency stop

as he sprinted past Legges shop.

 

Two days later he was back,

sat down at the front

calm as a sea

during an August

camping dawn.

 

‘Well… better today r we?’

‘Wha da ya mean sir?’

‘No more nonsense like Tuesday yeh?’

‘Wha dew mean mun, I havin’ bin ‘ere fa weeks like, yews trippin butt.’

 

Later,

the slappers in the corner told me

‘E bin unda the bridge sniffin’ aerosols’

‘Yew know, on Maggies Hill sir.’

 

It was then I noticed the good kids,

sat like Buddha,

exposed yet safe,

as parents wanted,

hoped,

 

learning in gaps

 

like soldiers catching sleep in snatches,

 

and Ann Marie’s hand crept down

between her legs

and she winked when I started talking about

environmental pollution

on page 63.


Marrakech

Salmon-pink

city of the living

teeming, steaming, shimmering

mottled mint tea afternoons

shade seeking shade

arch beyond arch, ‘neath

a cobalt sky

shell-brown beauties

hidden behind black

creep closer, venture on

Past cropped jewels

pale olive

skin craving sunshine

until bats burst

and cobras are

bagged

the signal

for end of shift

and fires grow

and smoke fills the air

and passers-by

can only stand and stare

for a thousand thousand years

or more


Quite early one morning

‘Y’ Tumble

half past ten

a black and white

waitress

haiku’s the menu

‘black pudding, mushrooms or

tomato’

as shepherd alcoholics

warn of Swansea

storms


Reviews:

‘From the moment you pick up a copy of Sawing Fallen Logs For Ladybird Houses, you realize you are holding a piece of art. Published by Ponty Press earlier this year, this work is gutsy, perceptive and experimental. Most of all it allows Dave Lewis to take us on a journey into all those nooks and crannies of life and love that most of us overlook. His keen eye and excellent usage of wit make this book one that I will come back to time and time again. For instance, in Outside the museum with Warren, Mr Lewis uses language and formatting so skilfully that we are instantly engaged in this encounter. Lines such as ‘we held the moments as strong as a whale’s heartbeat’ grab the reader and refuse to let go. Throughout the book, Dave Lewis shares intelligent and comedic metaphoric snippets that not only fill the backdrop, but also carry us along with him frame-by-frame. Like any good director, Mr Lewis allows his audience to look through the camera just enough to make them want more. In Opium, his repetitive use of ‘dab, dab’ actually summons the scent up, which is exactly what authors hope for and readers demand. The poem is creative, as is the entire book, but, more than that, it stimulates us on several levels. Through exaggeration and sarcasm we see situations most of us can relate to all too well as in the case of A fly in the ointment, one of several pieces that made me laugh and nod my head in total agreement. Travel Text is a clever reminder of how we’ve shortened our conversations to such an extent that we may lose the ability to truly communicate. Poems like Car Accident are so potent that you might miss how cleverly the author has used understatement to grab you by the gut. Train Lines provided me with a first-class ticket to a perceptive ride through the countryside I wouldn’t have missed for the world. I have read each of the poems in this book countless times and each time was given a richer taste of Mr Lewis’ fantastic feast. His lines are smooth and flow like ale on the palate on a hot summer day. I found this book refreshing and tantalizing. Even in his Row of trees, we’re taken immediately to the scene. ‘film grain, harsh light / the black and white of winter / rain rips skies.’ My heart was broken by Hospital bed. The stark reality Mr Lewis painted left me breathless. Throughout the book readers will ride a rollercoaster of rich language, clever insights and creativity. And when they finally come to the end, they’ll join the queue to ride again. Just remember, the queue starts behind me.’ – Jolen Whitworth for Gold Dust Magazine

‘From the first eponymously titled poem, we realise that Dave Lewis’s work possesses an energy and freshness that lifts his imagery and empathy way above the work of many less ambitious poets. The element of surprise in each poem, however short, is even more startling coming as it does from such uncluttered writing. Last lines are an example, while phrases such as ‘trees as tall as ships’, ‘a severe lack of hares’, ‘the brittle grass of misunderstanding…’ will surely enhance the readers’ own perceptions of the world around them. This collection’s structure too, works well under its five separate headings, and the diverse forms used in several poems adds visual variety. A wonderful read. Buy it!’ – Sally Spedding

‘I began to glimpse the heart of the man/poet in work that was increasingly breath-taking in its poignancy, clarity, imagination and observation. This is writing pared down to the emotional core, nothing superfluous, every word calculated to touch the raw place within you and make you flinch with the honesty of it. Above all, it makes you aware that among all of the grey loss and sadness, love and compassion still exists, and that some skies are still bright azure. And if Dave Lewis’s work doesn’t make you feel, then you might as well give up on this poetry lark…because that’s what he does best. Make you feel!’ – Agnes Meadows (from issue 44 of Roundyhouse in August 2015)

‘Dave Lewis is a vital voice of the Valleys, in touch with both the streets and the natural world. His free-flowing verse makes him a Welsh son of the Beats.’ – Mike Jenkins

‘Dave Lewis is an accomplished photographer who moves easily between the beauty of an ecological landscape and the stark reality of urban decay.’ – Andrew Davies, The Gallowbirds

‘A collection of beautiful poems and free verse. Dave Lewis, is an ardent environmentalist, seeing so much beauty in the Natural World. In all the poems there is a great richness of vocabulary. Written with compassion and intelligence. My favourite poem is ‘One Kaleidoscope Autumn’ about Dave and his young daughter. The last lines ‘Coated against cold through the bat dry night gazing up at a trillion answers’ – wonderment and magic of simple things! The images created in the mind when reading these poems is awesome. A definite place on everyone’s bookshelf.’ – ponypony

‘A remarkable collection which establishes Dave Lewis as one of Wales’s most exciting poets who I’m sure will soon reach a global audience, because he shines an empathic yet unsparing light on the world around him. Passion and bravery are rare amongst those safer ‘players’ chasing funding and hand-outs. This poet is unafraid, and original, and should be compulsory reading for all those of us blunted by the media and organised religion. Brilliant!’ – Sally Spedding


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