A man communes with all manner of natural and supernatural phenomena in these effusive poems.
Merrell, an avowed mystic, groups these 160-odd poems, each a page or so, in sections whose headings—“Spiritual Awareness Beyond the Physical,”—hint at the “majickal” New-Age themes they explore. In them, angels are everywhere, singing and fluttering, herding the souls of volcano victims to heaven, griping about their labors, sprinkling unseen blessings and inspiration all about. There are fantasy elements, including cats that fight for justice and “a good-hearted dragon who loved children and would put / His life on the line to save them.” There are pastorals galore, some glossy (“I shall get high on the fresh air / And go for a long walk / In the morning dew”), some suffused with eco-concern (“I am like the water….But like all good things on Earth / I’m being consumed at an alarming rate”). Birds are ubiquitous, usually soaring above mountains but sometimes waddling like penguins (“They slide on the ice / And dance in the snow / When they play about / It’s quite a show”). And no matter its subject or initial mood, virtually every poem thrums with unprovoked exultation: “All alone again / Except for the company of Nature / Surrounded by peace / And Heavenly love.” The author has a haphazard but conventional approach to rhyme and meter, so his verse often has the singsong feel of pop music, from the disco-inflected “Good News” to the heavy-metal trudge of the downbeat “Walking Dead.” Merrell’s language is charged with an intense lyricism, but the effect is rather liturgical; his incessant invocations of nonspecific love and divine radiance feel more generic and monotonous than uplifting. (The inclusion of black-and-white renderings of his busy, primitivist paintings adds some visual interest to the volume.
A collection of heartfelt but nebulous and uninvolving rhapsodies to the sublime.