Book of Original Poems and Memories
by Jacqueline Ivey

"Peeking through the tall trees
Quite a phenomenon
Rising slowly in the East
Set against a sky of red and orange hues
It’s sunrise."

Written by a retired public-school teacher, this book of poems and memoirs includes themed poems conveying the author’s strong faith, her love of family, and her sense of humor. Some are long, spiritual works concerning her love for and relationship to God. Others are heartbreaking musings on the death of her husband of forty-four years. Many are short, fun rhymes written to friends. Collected from years of writings, these poems range from the reflective to the witty. Also included, is a chapter of stories about her three sons and some of the humorous and challenging aspects of parenthood.

After reading this collection, one is struck by the honesty revealed within the works. The pain of loss is raw and present in the poems about her husband. For example, the poem entitled “The Thirteenth Anniversary of My Beloved’s Death” includes the lines, “Thirteen years later, my poor, sad heart bleeds and is writhed in grief.” The poem imparts the persistence of grief, yet hope for the future is expressed in the last verse, “Almighty God, . . . I’m learning to depend on you until my body, too, returns to dust.”

Though these poems of loss express the poet’s sorrow, this isn’t a sad book. In fact, some of the author’s works are laugh-out-loud witty. For instance, to a friend turning sixty-five, the subject is told, “You’ll get parts A, B and Parts C and D / Congrats on the status of your Social Security.” Then there is the beginning verse of a poem on the difficulty of the English language: “Oh, there are many rules to spell a word / It is just terribly and ridiculously absurd.” Ivey has captured the many aspects of life and its seasons in her very personal and versatile writings. Her book is an enjoyable read from beginning to end.

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