You might expect a poetry book by a political activist to be full of polemical rants exhorting others to 'seize the time', and to 'man' the barricades.
This debut book of poems by David Francis, however, is inhabited by the most honest of writing; that of a life being lived and the ongoing search for how to live it better.
Some of the poetry is autobiographical - drawn from work experiences, raising a family, observational insights on others and himself - but there is also a simple love of
fashioning words. A real craftsmanship at work.
Dangerous Dog is a terrific first book of poems. I haven't read anything new that's quite so good in a long time
(and I do read a lot of poetry). After last night's book launch I went home and read the whole book front to back twice.
The readings at the launch, by not only David but also various friends, family and other local poets, were highly enjoyable, and made it quite an event
(good to see a packed venue of young and old, too), but the printed word on the page has a magic all its own.
It is rather invidious to choose a favourite poem here, but 'How' is one that stirs up this reader's imagination (even when you've read it once and know the denouement).
It asks questions about human behaviour, social interaction, and inclusion / exclusion, all within an elegant unfolding yarn, the scene being set within the first eight lines
of the opening verse:
'How it got inside the room I will never know
It was too big to have come in through the door or the window
But there it was, walking amongst us on these
Four big flat round feet
with skin like bags of hardening clay
Shuffling, dignified and grey
it blinked, anxious and horribly aware
of all the people’s faces turned its way
I could see the creature wished it wasn't there...'