‘Bloodlines’, by Hannah Brockbank, drives a ‘sucker-punch’ straight to the heart of her absent father.
It begins with a ‘Myling girl’, (the spirit of an baptised child by Scandinavian folklore), left to die in the woods by her father, before abandoning folklore for the frank reality.
The imagination and creativity with which Brockbank weaves the tales of her father (as she imagines him to be) is captivating. Any bitterness which is left is a light touch, as in ‘Blood’:
‘My blood is thicker
It doesn’t run off.’
Poems such as ‘Sand', are much more reflective and soft in their tone:
‘I reach up to my face,
trace the contours
of my nose, cheekbones,
earlobes that attach
where does my father end
and where do I begin?’
Brockbank uses imagery of dead birds frequently, until in the final poem, ‘Wings', when she captures a falcon:
‘I extend my hand
hope that you
not to tie you
This suggests the beginning of trust in relationships once more and ends the collection on a hopeful note. The only qualms I sometimes had as a reader was in the line breaks, which seemed in excess- although some were clearly stylistic and worked effectively as such!
Overall, this is a satisfying collection, with a clear and developed story arc: a poet who does not overstate her meaning but delivers an impact all the same.
The book is available via Indigo Dreams Publishing here.