Some poetry is casual and off-hand, a matter of vivid observations of, and quick insights into, the world right here in front of us. With its short pieces accompanied with facing photographs, Daniel Hermon’s Travelling in the Mind falls comfortably into this style, with an added charm that comes from the fact that Hermon is English and loads his poems with English slang and wonderful place names that add spice to the page.
Consider, for example, the first piece, “A Small Black Moggy” (“moggy” is British slang for “cat”): “There is a small black moggy, / At my parents house, / By the name of Chester… / He fits curled up, / In a wooden salad bowl… / When happy, / He climbs in your lap… / When sad, / He looks depressed, / With a long, dark faraway look, / In his eye.’” The facing photograph shows a wary-looking, skinny black kitten, all legs and ears, backed up against a bottle of milk. It’s a charming poem in which the words and photograph come together in a small spark of pleasure and recognition.
Elsewhere, as in “Untitled,” Hermon displays a fine sense of the surreal: “There is a crocadile (sic) watching tv, / The Beatles are watching me,… / A wooden man hangs in thin air, / A pint of Guiness (sic), / Hangs up for eternity,…” The poem hurries on like that, giving readers a feeling of wonder and expectation.
As the two misspellings noted above indicate, however, there are far too many spelling errors and typos. They seriously interfere with the enjoyment of even some of the better poems. One hopes that Hermon will continue to take note of the world around him, for he has, at his best, a unique and lively take on the everyday experiences that swirl about him. It is to be hoped as well, that he will take more care in the mechanics of placing those impressions on the page.