King Alfred's Jewel

King Alfred's Jewel

by David Hamilton



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783065127
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Publication date: 10/31/2014
Pages: 136
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.29(d)

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King Alfred's Jewel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
DawnMorris45 More than 1 year ago
This book of poetry is fascinating.  It blends traditional subjects with contemporary relevance.  The two poems are journey.  The longer one is King Alfred's Jewel and covers from the inside the famous Dark Night of the Soul as described by St. John of the cross who Dali painted on a cross soaring above the earth. It suggests that there can be a spiritual and beneficial end to depression and distinguishes that from a dark Night which is very spiritua albeit unpleasant as it leads to a greater spiritual understanding. There is, unusually, a Dramatic monologue where deceased outlaws come back on may eve to Sherwood Forest to tell their stories to a gathered audience with Robin Hood officiating and two chorus figures father Time and Jack O Green linking events. What interested me is the distinction made between the legends and the real life  stories of the outlaws.
D_Donovan More than 1 year ago
The poetry genre as a whole holds many avenues for display and understanding, a very long history of controversy, and much debate over its wellsprings of inspiration in psychology, literary influence, and social evolution. All this is covered in depth in an introduction which basically takes the genre's history and synthesizes its influences in a literary examination of poetry's evolution and philosophical influences. It's unusual to see this kind of introduction in a collection anticipated to be free verse explorations of self; but then, this kind of opening should offer the idea that King Alfred's Jewel: Poetry of the Imagination and Imaginative Photography will be anything but your usual gathering of personal insights, offering something both extraordinary and a cut above the ordinary - and in this, it does not disappoint. King Alfred's Jewel is actually two long epic poems that sweep through themes of a journey undertaken and a jewel unearthed because of it. The book consists of two narrative poems and a dramatic monologue.  The poems deal with depression and the Dark Night of the Soul, while the dramatic monologue presents deceased outlaws coming back to tell their stories on a May evening in Sherwood Forest. The title poem uses the imagery of journey and jewel as its shining light as it probes essences of spirituality and psychology, examining the sources of modern angst and depression and considering the stormy road to spiritual and emotional redemption. There are dragons and inheritances, outlaw legends and metaphors that connect past to present, and streams of consciousness impressions. In choosing these particular formats and weaving a cloak of inspection, history and psychological depth, King Alfred's Jewel is actually much more accessible - despite its lengthy presentations - than one would expect, making it a recommendation for readers who might normally consider the poetic form too constrained, too regulated, and too inaccessible. King Alfred's Jewel is a delight on many levels. Add black and white photos throughout and a selection of color photos by the author, which act as both illustration and interlude to the written word, and you have a collection that stands out in the genre: something firmly rooted in literary, historical, spiritual and psychological traditions, but most definitely more than the sum of its parts.
DavidHowells More than 1 year ago
Will narrative poetry come back into fashion? The new book of narrtive poetry and a dramatic monologue is trying to bring it back: Most of the information available on this new book of verse dwells on the content and that it istwo poems and a dramatic monologue. They are contemporary, original poetry and inspired by the stories behind outlaw legends, and also takes the reader on a number of  spiritual journey's. The first poem is The Journey, which is similar to the title poem but without the depth and it is shorter. The titular offering is King Alfred’s Jewel. It is inspired by The Dark Night of the Soul by Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross. It uses a journey to find the king’s lost jewel as a guiding theme. And goes through the Underworld like classical writers have done and unusually, though reminiscent of The Palinode of Troilus from Geoffrey Chaucer's famous medieval poem, ascends to the heavenly spheres before coming back to earth  and going home to his family. The poem is a metaphor for the depression many people feel today and mistakenly try to substitute with unhealthy pastimes. The dramatic monologue, is Wolfshead and is an imaginative tale of outlaw legends. A 'wolfshead' was a resort of outlaws who formed a community, and this particular story is set in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood presiding. Using two chorus figures to link proceedings and set the scene, this wolfshead is a ghostly gathering who return to tell their legendary stories. This has the added interest of telling the real story of the outlaws life, where known. The outlaws who come back for the night are: Wild Edric, Fulke fitz Warrin, The Folvilles, The Cotrel Gang, Wild Humphrey Kynaston, Tom Faggus, who was used as a character in Lorna Doon, and Dick Turpin. There are two chorus figures Father Time and Jack O Green to link things together and give background information the real people behind the outlaw legends. As I said at the beginning it is the content that is usually discussed but there are passages of poetry of great beauty of the king we have not seen since Tennyson: We watch expectantly as black becomes blue Red Turns to gold, Slowly spreading across the sky, Till all is white, bright with all dark gone. Hail, the lucent morn, hail the new day Lift up your hearts and let the summer in. Let the new joy prevail, the new day dawn. Light moves over the sea, over countryside, It passes, setting seas to sparkle, It lightens streets, road, glens and copses. As it ascends shadows stretch then shrink From behind hedges, under blades of grass, Behind buildings and garden walls, they Clear shadows from the corners and our minds, As it clears the mind of dark desires, Precious pleasures are the ones you recall Next morning, without wincing, and shame. Sunlight, sweet sunlight, come into our lives. The new time rises.