Poems by Mark Roper
Praise for Catching The Light (Peterloo Poets, 1997):
. . . Mark Roper [has] emerged as one of the most accomplished and engaging poets writing in Ireland at the present. His work is characterized by a formal suppleness and a leanness of expression that facilitates a striking ability to see and move beyond the surfaces of daily life and landscape. If his poems primarily take their impetus from the natural world, Roper's engagement with that world has a discernibly spiritual purpose to it. The best of his work makes the world new.
Bill Tinley, Irish Literary Supplement
Roper's successes are glorious. He seems a keen ornithologist, and writes well about the various birds which flap through his poems . . . He loves nature, but without unfocused sentimentality; this is real, Darwinian nature . . . and yet. . . there is always the possibility of visionary immanence . . . In his mystical quest Roper does not renounce the everyday world, but passionately embraces it, tacitly agreeing with Virginia Woolf, that 'the paraphernalia of reality have at certain moments to become the veil through which we see infinity.
Tim Kendall, Metre
Praise for The Home Fire (Abbey Press, 1998):
The Home Fire is a model of lucidity…What distinguishes Roper is the unerring accuracy of his language…His speculations have a deliberate and uncoerced quality; he is more likely to be overwhelmed by his subjects, as in the marvellous short poem 'Sleeping with the Kingfisher'', than to impose his ideas forcibly upon them.
Catriona O'Reilly, The Irish Times
The Toy Museum
Glassed in at the turn of the stairs
leading up to the Toy Museum,
all shapes and sizes, some patched,
others good as new, they’re all seated,
all staring straight ahead.
And all have their arms outstretched,
as if their children had just left,
as if at any moment those children,
the Bonzoes and the Bunties,
the Jimjams, the Jenjens, might return,
as if time and flesh could be rewound
and they could all come streaming back,
out of the earth and out of the fire,
through white hair, wounds, weddings,
into suits of innocence, this embrace.
And no one can tell the bears how
the years add themselves to the years,
how children go raining into the dark.
Love blazing off their golden coats,
absence burning in their arms, they stare on.
Price £8.95 per copy (£6.00 to Associate Members) post free
Cover image: The crow Field 2004 (detail) Jean Clyne
Publication: April 2005 – paperback edition.