London Grip Poetry Review – John Mole

Poetry review – GOLD TO GOLDMerryn Williams gives a short but sincere appreciation of John Mole’s newest collection

Gold to Gold 
John Mole 
Shoestring Press
ISBN: 978-1-912524-53-2
74pp       £10

John Mole (born 1941) is a highly respected poet, reviewer and broadcaster. This, the latest of several collections, discusses the craft of writing, childhood in the war and after –

The English Riviera snored,
Blackpool was overrated.
The truth is we were mega-bored
scruffy and acne-plated

He also considers married love and later, widowerhood. Some of these poems are desperately sad.

In “Pottering” he, like his father before him, potters around a house whose sole inhabitant is him. In “Full Circle” he remembers being a child asking ‘Are we there yet?’, but is now driving alone next to an empty seat. Ancient films like Casablanca and The Third Man remind him of private moments gone for ever.

He is also aware of other people’s tragedies and how the gutter press exploits them. This was very much in people’s minds when a young woman celebrity committed suicide, in February before Covid overwhelmed the news; but unfortunately the subject doesn’t go out of date. Here is “Hacked” in its entirety.

Find the body where it fell.
All is very far from well.
This is a story that will sell.

No time to take a second look.
Fresh bait dangles from the hook.
Someone must be brought to book.

Messages remain unread.
Listen in on them instead.
Postscript echoes of the dead.

Search the neighbourhood for a clue.
Fact or fiction?  It’s down to you.
Any subterfuge will do.

Gather reports and hold the page.
Release them slowly, stage by stage.
Suspects, friends, their sex, their age.

This is a story that has sold.
Now for the next plot to unfold
Grief is worth its weight in gold.

Press coverage may be fleeting but, fortunately, good poetry, unlike bad journalism, lasts. John Mole is a poet worth reading and re-reading.

Merryn Williams