When the very first poem causes you to sit back in your seat and admire the sky through the window, smiling because you have been blissfully reminded how much raw beauty and strength rests in the voices of others, you know you’re about to read one hell of a book. The beginning of Blossom and Bone is exactly as it should be. Lyons’ voice – unafraid and honest – is introduced perfectly and then she unfolds.
Lyons unfolds like wings from a chrysalis, like freshly washed bed sheets, like dirty, crumpled bed sheets, like dog-eared pages, like kept loved letters, like a tongue in a lover’s mouth, like your wildest dreams. No stone is left unturned as Lyons’ poetry delves deeper into the poet and the reader. I found myself reminiscing throughout the entire book; reminiscing about heartbreak, heartache, love, friendship, freedom, loss, sanity, insanity, the nights I’ve spent alone, or spent with someone I no longer loved, or spent with someone I hope I never have to let go of. Blossom and Bone finds and identifies the parts of a person we long to bury and holds them up to the light. The final poem ‘It’s Only Poetry’ summarises this best. It is only through poetry and pain that we can romanticise about perfection, purity and a pale white light we mistake for everything good. I finished Blossom and Bone finding pleasure in pain and still breathing despite it.
‘to keep your mind
and body as whole as splintered can be’
A Hard Thing, Nicole Lyons
When Georgia Park reviewed Lyons’, I Am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl, she likened Lyons’ prowess to that of Rupi Kaur whose books Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers have dominated the 21st century poetry scene. Park urged us to forget those and pick up I Am a World, and I am going to do exactly the same with this third book. Blossom and Bone treats us to many short, touching and punchy pieces.
‘I know you think
you want a kiss,
but my tongue
is a serpent,
and my mouth
is a poorly wired cage.’
From Eve’s Lips, Nicole Lyons
But, it also stuns with longer pieces which weave together images of blood, fire, dawn, midnight, goodbyes and lost love. The Keeper of Time, Under the Sycamore, Sunflowers, It Never Heard That, and I Won’t Always Be Me, to name just a few.
Blossom and Bone proves Nicole Lyons is a poetry powerhouse and the sooner the whole world recognises this, the better. This is the book of poetry you should have on your shelf, beside your bed, on your coffee table, in your backpack, in your memory box and in your kitchen for those times you slide down cupboard doors in utter despair. It is Nicole Lyons who is paving the way for all of us. So, enjoy.
You can find Nicole Lyon’s work on her blog, The Lithium Chronicles.