Book Review

Sharon Auberle & Ralph Murre, Wind / Where Music Was, Little Eagle Press, 2013

by Charles P. Ries

Wind / Where Music Was is a collaborative book of poems by Ralph Murre and Sharon Auberle. It is a mature reflection on love and life. Wind / Where Music Wasis broken into five general thematic sections. As I read this collection, it was not clear to me which of the writers authored various poems since there was no attribution associated with each poem. Yet at the end of the collection I found an index that tied the poems to one or the other author. So it felt to me that on one hand, the writers wanted to create one voice, but then wanted to inform the reader, who authored the poem.  I asked Ralph Murre to explain this decision. Here is what he told me, “None of the poems are jointly authored, and we didn't think it very important for the reader to attach one identity or the other to the individual pieces, though many are clearly from a male or female perspective. Yes, we hedged a little by including our initials with titles in the index.”  He went on to say, “We did offer each other bits of revision suggestion, here and there, and we did work completely together on the order of the poems, to try to find a coherent "story-line". Works in the book range from near forty years old to little more than forty days old when the book was published”

I feel the collection benefits from the yin and yang of mature male and mature female writers. This voice gives the piece a rich timelessness as it explores life’s quintessential questions—their deep pain and sweet surrender. And while the young can love and live, it really does take seasoned travelers to make sense of it all. These reflections are deep and moving as in this excerpt from, “Through a Glass Darkly”: “The image of you / at the window that night / haunts me still… / you looking out, / me looking in, / the glass between us / thick, impenetrable”.  Or this one from, “Cold”: “and I said what I did / and then you // and now // this frigid afternoon / comes between us”.

The connection, separation, confusion, and yearning for love is considered from every angle. Murre and Auberle do a masterful job and one enjoys considering if the two of them are lovers, were lovers, or will be lovers; or equally, if they are just two poets on the road of life who decided to pause, reflect, and create a collection of poems focused on the journey through life thus far.

There are glories to all choices we make, but we only get to make one choice at a time. Do we take the path to our right, or to our left?  This eternal dilemma is addressed often in Wind / Where Music Was. Here is, “Discover Fire”: “burn that old house of your yearning / it is no longer fit for your habitation // forgive / forget / forever / the man who constructed it / he built with rusted nails / (probably the best he could find) // burn down that old house / so no one you love / will ever move in / build now an abode of satisfaction / with a view toward the sunset / (use the best nails you can find) // leave no room on your mantel / for any ash-filled urn.”

This is rich reflection on both the small and large moments which become the canvas of a life lived when heart is in hand, and eyes are wide open.

Charles P. Ries
lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His narrative poems, short stories, interviews, and poetry reviews have appeared in over two hundred print and electronic publications.  His full collection of poems titled, Girl Friend & Other Mysteries of Love was published by Propaganda Press earlier this year. He is a founding member of the Lake Shore Surf Club in Sheboygan, Wisconsin the oldest fresh water surfing club on the Great Lakes.