In the title poem to Sicilian Elephants, his most wide-ranging and ambitious collection to date, David Cooke imagines the short-lived paradise achieved by those miniature elephants whose bones have been found on the island. In poems gathered here he explores notions of home and the way humans aspire to define their space and achieve a life of ease.
Starting out from familiar domestic settings, he explores the rituals of DIY and gardening. However, the inevitable tensions between us and our environment and the ways that human achievement is subject to time are further explored in new and startling situations as when in a poem about heaven, the quest for a spiritual homeland is set against territorial conflict. With Sicilian Elephants, in words from the Poetry Book Society Bulletin: ‘Cooke’s lyrical insight and precision make the personal universal.’