A Few More Minutes: A Poetry Collection
by Brenda Livingston Bradley

"And when you place your head
upon your pillow,
may you dream
of stored memories
and feel gentle arms
of peace surround you."

Moments in Bradley’s poetry compilation are almost like photographs that capture and encase a particular memory for eternity. The poems demonstrate a level of serenity and peace, whether it is the image of the speaker resting under the magnolia tree while observing a ruby-red Macaw cleaning his talons or the speaker being in a daze, going almost in slow motion while mourning.

A diversity of themes is depicted through metaphor in the poet's work. In “Cleaning Your Closet,” for example, Bradley describes night and day as symbols of authenticity and pretentiousness respectively. The darkness of the night lets individuals take off their masks and reacquaint themselves with their raw feelings. From a crumpled manila folder to letters tied in a yellow ribbon, the section on grief especially uses imagery and symbolism to evoke emotion and demonstrate an emotional void. Nevertheless, poems such as “Unnoticed” convey more of an eerie tone because loneliness and isolation are often even more excruciating than the finality of death. Despite no consistent rhyme scheme in the poetry, Bradley effectively utilizes sentence structure and spacing—as in “Valley and Shadows”—for added emphasis and effect.

As the poetry progresses, other impactful poems like “Worry Stories” demonstrate how stories become tangled into a convoluted web, and escaping them simply becomes a hopeless task. For when hope is in low supply, Bradley’s poetry also contains a section of faith-based poetry. Among the spiritual poems, the strong imagery of “the pain of ash” and the “stain of regret” in “Among the Ashes” resonates because of its rekindling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Ranging from an expression of her global travels, including Kenya and Shanghai, to her ability to slow time and dwell on minor details, Bradley’s work is thoughtful and dives into numerous pertinent topics that make for a meaningful read.

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