What In This World
By Hollis N. Haskin
What in This World is a unique compilation of free-verse poems each telling its own unique story in its own special voice. From the start when you read the first poem Play you understand that there is no real profound message yet there might just be an underlying one within the each one as we look at the picture of the clown holding different globes. “Everyday should be a game. Who decided on serious is a serious does.” This is an interesting way to begin a poem and quite a profound thought if you really think about it. Amazing how the author continues with how many live within the shadows of shame and yet we should all come into the light and allow ourselves to shine. Continuing with different and unique ways to play and enjoy the world, like the sky when the sun is beating down, or the flowers as you play or run in the grass or dealing with the wind as your enemy. Nature plays with us when it changes course and wreaks havoc why not do the same? Continuing with the fun she has just picking flowers or her nose running from allergies from pollen or just enjoying her pleasures even if they are dumb. Maybe if we all lightened up we might not be as stressed out as so many people are each day.
Relativity is the next free-verse poem. Look at the picture of the world with a mouse coming out of it as the author begins with her thoughts on time and how it speeds up and slows down. This might not seem so profound and it just might be meant to let us know that we are so caught up in the constraints of our days and dealing with getting places on time and doing things on time that we often lose sight of the beauty of the day and more important things. Time races away she is so right and she compares it to racing away like “bumper cars,” which collide into each other if you do not go on the right direction. She includes a discussion on space and then the definitions of undervalue and overvalue. Completing this section with a unique thought: Just how big are we compared to the stars: Which is larger or do we try to understand the stars or Us? Interesting! Adults often take life too seriously and the author presents these views through the eyes of an adult recapping her youth and playful times. The next theme is Mystery. Look at the figure of the man trying to learn more about the world while but how? Life holds many mysteries and as the author writes not everything can be measured although we often try, a lock that opens one door will not open another. On page 23 she sums it up when she writes, “Fruits of life befuddle me dazzle me wanting too many gifts on the tree and twirl and sting and hang me up like bunting.” Life has many unexpected twists and turns and you do not always understand everything. The light woolen cloth used to make flags an unusual analogy. Touch is next in this theme and as she once again speaks about the wind or a breeze as something we can feel but it cannot feel us. Seasons is the next theme in this collection. The picture is great as you see the many season including salt and pepper giving the word multiple meanings. The Eskimo in the show, the swimmer or jogger, the children catching cold and of course the now covered tree. Beginning with January when the world turns white and the sky is grey kind of bleak. Yet, she finds something remarkable and positive about the beauty of snow. Next is April when the colors change and the world turns green followed by August. As you read about August you can feel the heat, the sweat and the warmth that is August and let’s not forget the humidity. A Haiku about the seasons next follows October. Can you smell the apple trees in the winder, the difference in the spring? The way the smells of nature awaken our senses you can feel the scents within the poem. New York City my favorite city is the next theme. Just look at the many globes within the maze created by the author, people of many races, and the footsteps above each walking to their many destinations. You can hear the sound of the trains, the screech of the wheels, the sirens, and the noises that we hear each day: that’s New York. The tunnels that seem to envelope us when driving through them, the coffee that starts our day, the buses, the streets, the people, the sound of the money as we place it in the box to pay for a fare as we enjoy the ride on a bus. The smells of the garbage that has not been picked up, the amazing art in the museums the special qualities that makes New York so unique. Followed by Love whose picture is priceless. A woman and her pet dog with the world around him so great and the stars that separate them as if they were coming from our flag. Love is a powerful emotion and sometime authors can get too mushy and tender when they describe this word. But, not in these poems as we start with her simple definition and how some express it. Telling the reader and anyone who listens that love will not come to you and you cannot expect it to show up at your door. I love how she compares it to a roll and would love to have a part of it. The different shades of love told in a unique way. She relates to the reader that Love is something you have to find and when you do it is amazing.
Ego: we all have one just like the woman in the picture that is definitely in love with herself as she stares into a mirror of herself and of course the world. She defines ego in a way that most would never think to do as she relates how people want to be looked at as the best, the cream and the one that truly stands out. Little Successes is a short poem in this theme. Next she deals with two emotions we all try to shy away from or deny: Doubt and Fear. The window frame and the person hiding says it all.
Her description of doubt, the senses that come into play and the title Unspoken Meal really says it all. The feelings that you have when you want to show the world you look your best and put your best foot forward, yet you don’t see yourself that way. Including how we all feel sometimes like staying in bed with the covers over our heads and just hiding from the world. But, in order to get out of bed we all need to get rid of being scared and afraid. Not so easy sometimes. Sleep has a picture what you have to really love with the world hiding underneath your bed, man with a headache and looking disheveled and in pain. Yet, the cat looks all-snug. This poem is really quite different and the comparisons are not what you would expect as she describes your mind at night trying to “gather scenes of a dream-to piece the puzzle.” Insomnia Insomnia I and II follow and many of us experience that. But, my favorite theme is the one we add dread AGE! The woman looks like an aging flower that has wilted with her wine glass, cigarette, long dress and her cats. The Card Game that many older people love to sit around and play gin rummy and still hold on to memories and want to feel young. The next theme is God followed by Man. Which seriously has a picture that is priceless of a man eating the world shaped like a chicken comparing life to a tiny slice of the truth. Everyone’s favorite weekday Friday and the last two themes Sin and Remorse. Remorse has a picture of a woman who loves life and commits sins and then looks like she wants to repent. You can read the last two themes to find out more about them yourself. After all the author wrote some really funny, thought provoking poems to make you smile and not take life so seriously. So, get the book and read the poems and share them with others.
Fran Lewis: reviewer