J. S. Watts’s collection of poetry was published by Lapwing Publications in 2011. The collection, Cats and Other Myths is centred on the theme of myths that find contemporary relevance. Many of the poems heavily feature animals and quite a few are written in the point of view of one, however there are two particular poems that caught my eye in this collection.
Page 13 - 16
This poem is about a princess, longing for a prince to find her. She looks into a mirror where her prince appears, she’s blissfully happy and in love until he disappears. Two other princes appear, but her hope diminishes when no prince comes to claim their love for her and there is no happily ever after.
To me, this presented many similarities with present day life. The mirror felt like a metaphor for online dating, you never quite meet that true love in person, and the distance ends up being the downfall. As it was for the princess who needed the love of a man in person, and not through a mirror.
I like how there was an element of fairy tales returning to their roots and not always getting that “happily ever after” as we’ve all come to believe was the origin of fairy tales.
This is why this poem was one of my favourites from the collection.
Page 64 - 65
The first stanza is what immediately drew me into this poem. Watts begins by using antithesis by saying “nature demands balance” for every light there has to be a dark. Antithesis is something I enjoy reading in poetry as it shows both sides of a coin so to speak.
In the last three stanzas of the poem there are two descriptions of a woman.
Watts refers to the woman as a “She-Devil, Fire goddess, born from the flames;” in the first description. This was a particularly strong line to me as I could really see the image she was painting of this woman bathed in flames, with her hair wild.
In the last stanza Watts moves onto describe a purer woman, “meek virgin, I trip my way to church/Mousy hair tied sensibly; linens precisely pressed/If I lack, it does not show.” This tied up the poem perfectly for me.
I believe both descriptions of the women are describing the same woman, but the first one is the woman during the night and the second is the woman during the day when she’s “pure” again. Whether or not this is what Watts was going for, I loved this poem regardless; it was probably my favourite poem of the whole collection. The great thing about poetry is it’s all about the readers interpretation.
If poetry is your thing and you enjoy reading pieces surrounding myths, fairy tales, and animal points of view then I would suggest you give this collection a read. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read, particularly the poems I mentioned above. Give it a read, and let me know your favourites.
To pick up a copy of this collection you can either find it on www.jswatts.co.uk or good old www.amazon.co.uk
@mustbejlb (on Instagram and Twitter)
Have something to say? Please comment below, all feedback and suggestions are welcome.