“What worlds we find within ephemeral words. Between the pages scuttles passion and promises that shape the destiny of us all. Words create, convey, condemn, without fear. They reveal new ideas and perspectives with simple combinations. Words are beauty. Within this collection you will find the first volume of poems by the poet Phen Weston as he delves into words to discover his own path through life, where ever that may lead. From raw emotion, to tales of the undead, be prepared to visit the unimaginable scale of human emotion, interaction and imagination. Some of these poems are true, most beyond false. But they are all Phen, inside, outside, ripped apart and reborn. Love. Hate. Horror. Each word begins a journey.”
Callum Mclaughlin – 9th April 2015
Nothing But The Rain is a moving and intelligent collection of poems. Every word has earned its place, with each piece crafted with meticulous care. Some feel deeply personal, others utterly whimsical, but all feel powered by a narrative touch that adds to the encompassing nature of this little book.
Despite planning to take an initial quick glance, I ended up reading the entire collection in just one sitting. I think that alone speaks volumes.
Summary At First Glance:
Read these poems! Then read these poems again and again! They’re incredibly thoughtful, movingly sad, and wonderfully crafted–a collection of the personal, interpersonal, worldly, and otherworldly. In the poem “Blues” Weston writes, “Discover me when / You search for you today”, (28). He got it exactly right. Discover yourself by discovering his writing.
The first poem of the collection is entitled “5am”, and from the start we gather the sense that these poems are written in those hours when the darkness is fading into the light. Nothing But The Rain holds the kind of poetry that will leave you seeking the shelter and safety of the womb or even perhaps the tomb as the words in it seem to be shadowed by this darkness that comes with the storm. Yet even through these clouds we see the goodness of rain, the need for it, its ability to make things rise.
Very early on we see that these aren’t just poems…. No, these are poems that can make poetry relevant again. The sad-but-sweet story-driven “Willow Sheltered Shores” begins with these lines before telling of the emotional evolution of a man: “I was once a child / Playing at / The False man” (Weston 12). And the haunting philosophically-tinged “Aphrodisia” begins thus: “What is the measure of life / But the distance travelled / From womb to catacomb, / Does the ever after take account?” (Weston 15). Both show of the power of Weston’s words and his ability to ponder not just the self but also the “cryptic existence” that we all must live in.
This existence is no more deeply questioned than in “What Holds An Old Photograph?”; “Today Tumbled” and “Awaiting What Comes”. Yet that is not to say that Weston cannot write about more than the rain. Yes, a darkness hovers over much of his poetry but there is a rainbow after the rains, such as in the almost jaunty “The Wordsmith” or the majestically romantic “The Clouds Of North Holland”, which conjure up the “perfect magnificence” of the sky’s puffy white companions.
With as much sadness as hangs on the words here, there is also an equal amount of hopefulness, “[a]nd I am not afraid / any more” (76). A sense of Taoist philosophy runs through the pages, and, I think, we are left with the realization that there is a giving to sadness as much as there is a taking. The collection ends with “4am (The Prequel)”, and honestly I am already awaiting the sequel.