In the Dark, Soft Earth – Frank Watson

*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author and Plum White Press.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: Dig into this delectable journey through the dark, sensual, and ravishing poetry of Frank Watson. Ruminate the searing to the sultry as you absorb this haunting lilt of burning carnality. The poems ignite rapid and surprising shifts in focus and perspective as they twist and turn your preconceptions, allowing the implications to linger in your thoughts.

Vignette verses explore the workings of love, nature, spirituality, and dreams with sprinklings of tarot symbolism and jazzy blues. Together these verses contemplate the subtle underpinnings of a soft earth.

Beautifully illustrated in color with classic paintings.

This poetry collection is split into ten ‘books’: Within the Weeping Woods; Between Time and Space; Assembly Required; Percussion Mind; A Dance Between the Light; Beneath the Raven Moon; Omens; An Entrance to the Tarot Garden; Across the Continents and Stories Before I Sleep. Throughout all of the sections, though, the consistent themes of nature and love recur. The poet blends nature imagery with feminine qualities, until the line between his beloved and the natural world are blurred, and it is no longer clear whether he is describing his lover in natural terms, or nature as a beautiful woman.

Certain motifs also recur throughout the poems: dreaming, kissing, dancing, ‘she’, the moon, darkness, and the vision of long hair blowing in the wind. The imagery is potent, and made more so by the decision to scatter the art that inspired and/or complements the poetry throughout the book, so we can easily bring together the visual and textual depictions.

In form, the poems are short and simply constructed. There is no capitalisation, little punctuation, and the author chooses simple forms and direct, everyday language, making each poem superficially accessible to beginners. It is in how those simple words are placed together with each other to create each word-picture that the art lies, and this is often mirrored in the way the form of the lines reflect the content, like sculptures of print on paper.

For poetry enthusiasts, there is enough range of tone and content to provide something for nearly every taste, in a collection that bears repeated, contemplative exploration. I wouldn’t consider this a collection for beginners to poetry, however, as the reader needs to be willing to read and re-read, and work with the author to dig the deep emotions from this ‘dark, soft earth’.

standing on the cliffs
at the end of the world
we follow the frozen stream

as it winds through
depositing us deep
into the earth
where it all began

– Frank Watson, ‘where it all began’ in In the Dark, Soft Earth

Find more from Frank Watson at his website here, or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

In the Dark, Soft Earth: Poetry of Love, Nature, Spirituality, and Dreams is available on Amazon now.


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