The Full Indian Rope Trick
Colette Bryce's The Heel of Bernadette was one of the most highly praised new collections of recent years, winning both the Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection, and the Strong Award for best new Irish poet. Her second, The Full Indian Rope Trick – the title poem already the winner ofthe 2003 National Poetry Competition – sees a leap forward in confidence and range, with Bryce's dark lyric and darker wit finding many different voices. Whatever subject the poet takes – an Ulster childhood and the child's growing awareness of her divided community, the surreal life of the natural world, or the more disturbing shadows thrown byour love and desire – it is always addressed with both a compelling emotional candour and an astonishingly musical intelligence.
'That magician/ who stationed himself on a pillar
over Manhattan/ for thirty-five hours/ knows nothing whatever
of loneliness/ or how it is/ for people like us
who have no soft acre/ of cardboard boxes
not even the eggshell/ flashbulbs of the press/ or the well-meant antics
of neighbours with a mattress/ to temper the thought/ of the hard, hard earth,/ to break the fall.
Nothing at all.'