"The ability to take care of you matters. The relationship, the need to know
the threshold can be crossed, matters."

Even in the darkest of nights, there is hope that day will come. Clem's poetry compilation brings this notion to life throughout the eight sections, particularly through the use of symbolism. Chronicling observations of life experiences spanning over six decades, Clem's work does this and more with its focus on using words to evoke emotions and themes ranging from peace and hope to healing and gratitude.

From the first few poems, especially "Bird's Song" and "Infant Song 2," Clem establishes her message through symbols, whether it is a snapshot of the early morning, birds chirping, or the vibrance of a newborn baby. While the premise is hope and healing, the emphatic call to action Clem encourages when it comes to living life is best exemplified in "Ebby's Adventure," a refreshing depiction of her beagle's innate desire for exploration. She sniffs out chipmunks, listens to the mowers, and feels her way into the earth's roots to dig up tantalizing treats. Through her adventures, she epitomizes the curiosity that adds intrigue and meaning to the routine monotony that becomes commonplace in adulthood.

At its core, poems like "What Matters" represent Clem's central message to simply focus on what's real and embrace oneself by peering within. Images of the speaker sitting by a stream in silence are juxtaposed with portraits of the sea oscillating from rocky to rhythmic silence—an undeniable metaphor for life. Simultaneously, the poet's work in "Ode to a Teacher" demonstrates a strong level of respect and gratitude for educators and the immense role they play in shaping young minds and hearts. Overall, Clem employs a consistent sentence structure and cadence with repetition and alliteration to deliver an almost lyrical quality to her work.

Return to USR Home