Now more than forty years ‘old’, Watching the Morning Grow retains an unusual freshness and vitality.
Watching the Morning Grow, Pearse Hutchinson’s third collection of poems in English and, followingprevious publication by the Dolmen Press, was his first book to appear from The Gallery Press.
What makes this work, what gives it its rhythm and hypnotic music, is its prosaic, halting, matter-of-factness. Even the odd punctuation plays a part: those colons, like dramatic pauses. If, as Helen Vendler suggests, poetry ‘insists on a spooling, a form of repetition, the reinscribing of a groove’, ‘Bright after Dark’ embodies that movement in each stanza, each country, each setting-out. And it ends perfectly, with a directive to . . . drop / grains of maize for whoever comes after you: / for only maize can light the way on a dark night.’ So the poem’s talismanic brightness shifts from incantatory music to cinder/ guardian angel and finishes in an imaginary ellipsis, a trail of light-seeds. [Watching the Morning Grow] was one of the first that gently but firmly shook me, and woke me up. — Mark Granier, Poetry Ireland Review