Review: “The Shape of a Tulip Bird” by Christopher Hopkins

“The Shape of a Tulip Bird” by Christopher Hopkins describes the sea of a “wombing storm” and the tragedy –
“The body doesn’t keep its secrets” and the couple finds in this opening poem, “there is a fist where the heart should be” and that instead of a baby there are “absent echoes”.

In “Magpie”, Hopkins writes,
“If life is a feather
black or white
then death
as a blinded bird
singing for the night.”

This suggested the fragility of human existence and how small we actually are – just a singular feather, in this case. Hopkins suggests death is the fear of not knowing – the blinded bird sings for something they will never sense. The image of blindness continues in “Hospital” where Hopkins writes, “I’m holding your hand like the blind” – the desperation and the uniting force of grief is clear.

In “My Heart is a failed city”, Hopkins describes the weight of his grief – “All the heaviness is at my centre” and he becomes a “failed city” without the busy city lights and activities.

The collection ends with “White Feather”, a symbol of surrender and purity. The light in the dark is found in celebration as possible as Hopkins is able to be the “happy drunk” with a shared dream and a hope for the future.

This collection is available from Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York and from the author directly.

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