A sense of endings. There are Boats on the Orchard

April 26th, 2018 § 0 comments

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Maria C McCarthy’s illustrated pamphlet, There are Boats on the Orchard, is reviewed by Neil Leadbetter in Write Out Loud.

This  attractively produced, pocket-sized poetry pamphlet, designed by Mark Holihan with illustrations by Sara Fletcher, chronicles seven years of living alongside the disappearing orchards of Kent […]

The title of this collection hints at displacement. What are “grass-locked vessels” doing in an orchard?  Displacement runs through the collection in a series of sightings. It is to be found in the image of the car on the footpath instead of the road, human detritus in the hedgerow, the juxtaposition of natural and manmade objects, of brambles and plastic boxes, blackberries and asbestos panels, plums and Stella cans. These ‘list’ poems bring out the best in McCarthy, they hold our attention with a surprise at every turn. In ‘Orchard Inventory,’ for example, she writes of


A horsebox spilling cushions and chicken wire;

an Olympia portable typewriter;


A ride-on mower in a hut with a broken lock;

a Black and Decker workmate; a plastic box;


asbestos panels with feathered splits; a trampoline;

a vacuum cleaner; bones; a shipping container; a swing.


It is telling that the very last entry that is mentioned in the inventory is trees.

There is also a sense of endings – of autumn, of shrivelled fruit as a metaphor for the demise of all the orchards, of trees being felled, of bulldozers, bonfires, planning notices and the burnt-out shell of a car.

This collection is a moving depiction of the changing face of our orchards, beautifully observed by a writer who cares deeply for the preservation of our natural world.

Read the full review:Write Out Loud

Maria C. McCarthy’s pamphlet is available exclusively from Cultured Llama, and costs £7 plus p&p. Order it here:There are Boats on the Orchard

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