The Woven Flag
by Margaret Fourt Goka
BookVenture Publishing LLC

"Childhood is a spaceship full of friends
that rockets into the future.
I will be there when it lands
like a kitten on its feet..."

This 75-page book of poetry celebrates children and cats, butterflies and mornings, tea and coffee. Goka’s poems are highly entertaining, and her specialty is wordplay and riddles that almost beg to be read aloud. The “Riddles” section contains some of her deepest poetry, demonstrating an ability to juxtapose the then and the now. “Homespun” (gray woven cloth worn by previous generations) contrasts with “spun plastics,” color-saturated and tangled in the modern washer spin. “More Mornings” finds the poet lethargically waiting with birds in her treeless yard for more than another mechanical dawn.

An underlying theme is passing along the joy of life to encourage those experiencing loss. Little calms the soul more than watching hummingbirds chase each other or smelling clean laundry. The poet can appreciate the beauty around her even as she bemoans moving away from the woods she once loved. She comforts those who mourn departed ones by advising they keep only a “little pocket/handkerchief of grief.”

Similes compare how coffee and tea taste—“coffee…like ground up books”—while green tea is like springtime. The poet’s wordplay catches attention by switching out expected words with ones that sound similar. For example, she will write “realms” instead of reams (of paper). Rhyme and repetition suit the many poems for children: “The cat…/Under stairs/Under boxes, under chairs” and “insides of bags/…fluttering of rags.” These fun rhymes are reminiscent of Dr. Seuss.

Since a flag can be woven of anecdotes, locations, and whimsy, Goka has done a fine job of flying flags in her book of poems. Readers of all ages are welcome to pick up, wave, or share a favorite.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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