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The Rain Stands Tall Paperback – October 24, 2015
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The poetry is relaxed, but hard-to-get-at; because it is apparently simple yet highly abstract. It is also replete with physical referents which give it a personal touch that is almost keeping alive some ancient contact with the human spirit which is trampled in the city's brazen swell.
Beauty is Goodness, is Truth, is Strength, is Love; the formula of the Greeks is inherent. There is no Freedom without Truth in Neil’s poetry. While others may see the root of Freedom as a reaction to social injustice, to Neil it is a profoundly spiritual issue, which sidesteps polarized materialistic views, and is clearly anti (because beyond) political. Here politics is the corpse ; decay and narcissism.
Spiritual Truth and Freedom are found in two places : rigorous self-examination and unadorned nature. Unadorned nature has a sacred quality in this poetry. The wildness of Neil’s Highland home is evident in the title and in many phrases recalling – the earth, the wind, the rain and the snow.
There is hope and dejection. There is belief in Love and sorrow at the wastefulness of life and the shallowness of the mainstream. But again, it is not political, it decried as a wasted spiritual opportunity. There is exasperation rather than anger. There is recognition of a silent nodding awareness. The Tao which can be spoken is not the Tao; and the Taoism is intuitive rather than formulaic. Lines such as are clearly redolent of the English Christian mystic, William Blake, in or next to whose old house in London, Neil once lived.
The collection is neither random nor categorized; the paper is a warm hue not a sterile white, the text is large, and the cover is soft. These things are all as they should be and serve as indicators for the interior; my words also can be no more than that. Dive in !