CARRYING THE Elephant is a wonderful collection of prose-poems by author, broadcaster and Socialist Worker columnist Michael Rosen. This is a book that can be dipped into, as each piece stands alone. But it can also, unlike many other poetry books, be read from beginning to end as the story of one man's life.
The first few poems deal with his childhood, but also with the lives of people around him. Many relate snatches of conversations he heard from the adults in his life-his parents, their friends and siblings.
We follow his progress through university, the BBC and relationships (not to mention through customs with a bottle of brandy!).
Then we learn of his son's death through an extremely moving series of poems exploring many different aspects of this loss-the shock, the anger, the awkwardness of others and the constant reminders. One short poem replies to the letters that keep coming for his son.
In another, he talks of the dreams he has more than a year after his son's death. These poems, although occasionally painful, are so full of love they read as a celebration of life and of hope even when life seems hopeless.