Inner Sanctuary: Lifetime Musings of a Poet
by Robert E. Shaffer

"The mountains live in my memory, their majesty and grandeur are the essence of all that is real and wonderful."

Vietnam veteran Shaffer says he has always been a poet, though it took many years to find his “true voice.” Disillusioned with the war, and through a subsequent career working with young people, the author put pen to paper, and that gave birth to an expression of deep poetic thoughts, captured in this nearly 270-page collection. Shaffer’s tome is divided into six major sections which explore in rich detail his innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences vis-à-vis his “Sanctuary,” “Memoriam” of loved ones passed, his “Family,” the “Youthfulness of Youth,” “Seasons,” and, finally, his experiences of “War.”

A constant theme throughout all sections considers the beautiful innocence of children, specifically their unfettered sense of wonder and magic. Thus, though some of the work acknowledges despair of the human condition, the reader is continuously left with the promising reflection that, as displayed by the intrinsic humanity of people both young and young-at-heart, goodness does in fact prevail, and hope and love are at the core of all the poet observes. “Love is the greatest human emotion,” writes Shaffer. “Love is special, it makes us human beings.”

This poet’s range of topics and emotions dealt with so tenderly and openly is impressive. It includes such subjects as “the magic children bring,” human ignorance and racism, the natural cycles of life and change, his deep and obvious love for his wife, meditations on the Rocky Mountains, walking as a healthy exercise to work out one’s problems, and the desire to “do good” in life. Above all, Shaffer’s collection of poetic musings reflect back to the reader so much of what it means to be human. Such an endeavor includes the good, the bad, the ugly (such as his poems on war), and all the colorful shades in between.

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