Colin Campbell: Poems

Colin Campbell released his book, simply titled ‘poems‘, in late 2021. The collection was published by Stringybark Publishing. Colin was born and raised in Suffolk, England, before spending many years in far north Queensland, Australia. He currently lives in Canberra.

Many of Colin’s poems tell stories of rural life, often drawing upon his childhood in England – some are even written in the Suffolk dialect. These poems have an easy pace that reinforces a picture of steady toil by hard-working country people. At the same time, Colin’s sensitive observation and careful use of language brings landscapes, individuals and events vividly to life.

Here, for example, is a pastoral scene from Colin’s poem titled autumn:

the year is ailing . . .
this field is stretched and barely breathes
the stubble thick as yellow pelt
over the weary creature’s rolling ribs

Or this extract from the poem hands 1917 which recalls a Suffolk childhood:

when it was time for me to early milk
mother would tiptoe in with steaming tea
and wake me with soft fingers on my face
fingers that smelled of her and flour and food
“tis time, my boy, old bessie’s in her stall”

While these lines from the poem spring 2 delight in the arrival of a new season:

the first fresh greens
are almost too bright to bear like a first kiss
which we weren’t expecting
but after which we are speechless and shaking
and never quite the same

Colin’s book is substantial, containing more than 180 pages. Taking the book as a whole, it might be said the poems address all that is good, and bad, in humanity. Certainly, the gentle poems about rural life are memorable.

But so are the poems about war, suicide, violence and loss. These poems are honest, raw and sometimes confronting. All the more so, for the way Colin personalises his poems – throwing a spotlight on the human impact of the events portrayed.

Take, for example, these lines from the scream:

the baby was shocked into it’s first breath
during an air-raid
bloody but breathing it lay on rags
as flakes of plaster fell and the floor heaved
this was day one

And this extract from the poem titled Behind glass at the War Memorial, Canberra:

Wrapped in socks, the tin had come from home
with news of babies and christenings and the harvest
and of an aged neighbour who had died in bed.
Someone found it in the boy’s pocket
and brought it back, and here it is, on show,
beside the guns and shells and donated medals
and set against a soundtrack of mad noise and screams.

It’s my pleasure to showcase the beauty and depth of Colin’s poetry. Colin is a writer who brings stories and characters to life. Making them real, making the reader care. Sometimes these can be tender stories about quiet moments but, equally, they can be stories about the darker side of humanity.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of poems by Colin Campbell, please drop me an email via the Contact page and I will put you in touch with Colin.