In Blood Sugar James Byrne's fine poems explore a variety of themes, combining light and shadow, tenderness and wit. The tender 'Dragon Tree', with an analytical undertone, implies female power, subtly exercised:
The blue-rimmed room
a week long lingering
jasmine tinged ...
I study your note
its weaponry -
life over death
and distance that can be narrowed
to the length of a finger.
In the ambiguous Incest, which describes a scene on a film set -
He can only play himself:
a version of the sea, uncontainable.
Their strange breed of surface tension
is capable of locking a bedroom door.
The villain is a ghost in white sheets.
The style is conversational, which gives the strong subject matter great impact. Madness or implied madness and unexplained disappearance are recurring themes written in a story-teller's narrative style but with the structure of poetry:
In Holty Mansions the tenant identifies with the
young girl, Chloe, who went mad in the bedroom...Six months in
and I have begun to feel a little closer
to what it was: the menacing white
of the walls in winter, the way faces
shapeshift in knots of the wardrobe...