Where books are chronicled from beginning to end, and never stop being read.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A poem! A poem! My kingdom for a poem!

No, I am not the great William Shakespeare. Nor am I King Richard III. But what would I give to be intrigued by a present day poet?

The thought occurred to me after re-reading Send Bygraves, by Martha Grimes.
Send Bygraves by Martha Grimes
I admit, the first time I read this book nearly 20 years ago, I didn't quite grasp the delicate intricacies in this esoteric poem of Stygian-esque gloom. Then again... I was twelve.

Fast forward into present day, definitely older, if not a drop not wiser. I felt myself being drawn in to this grim tale of dark humor and bizarre mayhem.

Send Bygraves is a deceptively short poem, easy to read yet harder to deconstruct. Bygraves, the shadowy detective who exists within the parameters of every character's psyche is the immediate "go to" when there is a murder. Almost codependent upon Bygraves, are the well meaning survivors who treat him as a source of comfort. With the cry of "send Bygraves" resounding throughout the book, the reader must dig a little deeper to realize that the grand detective could potentially be the killer, the victim, the pawn.

Yet Bygraves always has the last laugh. His obscure presence has him appearing and disappearing at a moments notice. He is called at a scene of a murder, only for us to realize that he has already come and gone. If a character has something to hide, then there is a sense of looming dread at the thought of Bygraves unearthing every detail.  Beware sinister thoughts or guilty secrets, for there may be a killer in place of the detective that comes in the darkness.

Perhaps that is the ultimate factoid. Bygraves is conscience, fear, despair, hope and joy.

The poetry is whimsical and abstruse, with an underlying sensibility within the chaos. You can simply take it at face value, enjoying the prose and never delving into the realm of the author's cryptic meanings. Or you can dig deeper. But please heed this warning: it will be a great challenge to unravel this nebulous knot of mystery.

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