Poetry. . .leads (the poet) into severe definitions"" is one offering in Kennelly's frugal feast of reason which introduces these brief poems. Certainly his images, his ""shells and birds. . .which elate me utterly"" do contain their solitary knowledge as steadying compass needles joining death and life, morning and evening, killer and victim. But in spite of the ""light on Portobello Bridge"" and the ""evening glow/ Men go home because they do not know."" Or perhaps cannot face circumstantial fear: stones that kill or a fox on the wall. Kennelly's verse however is often much less than severe, and at times the line is stiff-jointed or banal (""The Shannon moves with ease/ Toward a mighty union with/ Atlantic mysteries."") Stringent exercises which alternately shrive and starve.