Book Review

Life Lines from Extraordinary Abundance by Peg Sherry. Eau Claire, WI: Holtz
Creative Enterprises. Contact Peg Sherry, 22 Burrows Road, Madison, WI 53704.  $10.00.

Reviewed by Lou Roach

Peg Sherry, of Madison, describes herself as a “closet writer” until she retired
from teaching. Now, after being active in writers’ groups and publishing the
results of her efforts in local, state and national publications, she acknowledges her current belief that she has indeed become a writer.  Her newest book, Life Lines from Extraordinary Abundance, is her third.

A number of the poems in this chapbook are lyrical pieces, celebrating nature,
the dailiness of living and the small wonders Sherry treasures in her life.  She has always had the ability to see significance in usual events.

Her poem, “Giving Thanks for the Ordinary,”  sets the tone for her chapbook.

Just another day
in an ordinary place,
. . .
The Earth turned on schedule
as it always does,
surrounding us
with extraordinary blessings.

She bemoans the loss of a poem with “A Tick Away,” emphasizing how quickly
a poet can lose an idea or necessary lines for her work when other bits of living
interrupt:  “taking the unformed poem / forever out of reach.”

Sherry writes two poems based on whimsy, “Observing a Crowded Bookshelf”
and “Tattooing an Old Lady’s Dream.”  In the latter she casts a smile toward her
own fanciful dreams.  She asks “Questions I Cannot Answer”—wondering how
to move forward without looking back.  One of her most moving poems, “Second
Chance,” praises the good fortune of an individual who discovers a new relation-
ship after living through the grief of losing a loved one:

Not that we love
our first ones less…
but happy
that the other came
. . .
to help us find the moon
that had dropped like stone
. . .
rising once again
to rim us in its steadfast beam.

Like so many poets, writing in later years, Sherry explores life from the perspective of its eventual end. I wanted more specificity from several of those poems.  Though well-constructed, they seem too broad in scope, leaving me wondering about the people she expects to leave behind, not just the beauty of the world she will miss.  We learn little about those who are important to her.

However, with her poem “Shifting Time,” I found Sherry at her best. She presents a strongly contemplative view concerning the ambiguity of time. I was touched by the pensive quality of her words:

days counting
their own minutes
that tick away
the light
bring stars
with no time matching ours
. . .
even though the moon
will go on rising
even as the sun goes down again
now is always gone.

Spring is a good time to read Peg Sherry’s tribute to abundance.  She reminds us to value every day.           

Lou Roach, former social worker and psychotherapist, lives in Poynette. Her poems have appeared in a number of small press publications, including Main St. Rag, Free Verse and others. She has written two books of poetry, A Different Muse and For Now. She continues to do free-lance writing, although poetry is her favorite thing to do.