A DEVOTION OF SONNETS by Nick Ines Ward
A5, 32 pages, black and white printing, saddle stitched, 2021
The space for our Devotion is watery, warm; it softens around the edges, pliant and open like a mouth for the communion wafer. Soon, we are navigating flat time and flat space through its swells and pulls, as if it were a homing device but also, perhaps, a kind of home. We reach out and touch at a distance and from afar. We are not a container but a bleeding heart.
These sonnets begin with refusal—people, objects, names. Refusals that are not abject but devotional acts towards a kind of knowledge—a self. Revelation! Ecstasy! Resurrection! They assume the particulars of structured verse—as ‘trap & fish’ and then tug on the ends to unravel.
Winter ends with—
twist yourself out of the earth
like a bulb too quick for -
and we hang on into Spring, who enters like a new bloom; and us.
We can trace our devotion through these new moons, old moons, low suns; by the temperate shifts and tides and then return these common temporalities to the poet—a self, a name—through the objects of their devotion. From the water bills like an elegy, of someone long deceased, to ‘always your mouth pulling me somewhere’, these objects express versions of love. These versions—like our versions—are drawn together through one sacred act. Devotion is to pay heed, one’s dues—and attention.
It is a kind of intimacy towards the material—nothing as singular as who, but how to do it. Devotion is the question and the answer. — Rose Higham-Stainton