Meyerhof’s poetry debut finds love and meaning in the depths of despair.
This poetry collection presents familiar life themes—anger, denial, the painful loss of loved ones—yet the overall message is perseverance, as Meyerhof urges readers to carry on and decide their own fates. However, many poems employ simplistic end rhymes and awkward rhythms. For example, in “An Artificial Peace,” Meyerhof describes the pretense of happiness in what appears to be a hospital or nursing home: “The flowers are cheery and bright. / The décor is really so right. / The food is superior and over the top. / The staff does not stop.” In this case, there’s a powerful story and message beneath the form, but more concrete sensory images—such as a description of the person in bed or of the room through her eyes—might have made the scene more immediate for readers. That said, there are moments when Meyerhof uses rhythm and rhyme strongly. In “Accident,” readers can feel and hear the horrifying moments of a car crash through the rhythm and sounds in the second stanza: “A life-changing piece of time, / Blinding, binding, / No reason or rhyme, / Winding, grinding.” Meyerhof’s poetic voice also deepens when he dabbles in free verse, as in “From Paradise to Hell in a Few Hours.” When something life-altering plunges a person into deep sadness, it’s a feeling, writes the author, that cannot be put into words: “You have to do it, / See it go through the pores of your skin, / The actual membranes of your body. / The cells of your being into your soul.”
A collection that, although uneven, has the laudable spirit of a person who will not give up.