In this volume of poetry, Williams (Exploring the Heart, Awakening the Mind, 2007, etc.) invites readers to walk a few miles with him on the journey of life.
“And one man in his time plays many parts, / His acts being seven ages,” says the somber Jaques in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It monologue. One may think of Jaques as one reads Williams’ collection, as the poet returns to the theme of the stepwise nature of life more than once. Here, for instance, are the opening lines of “Humanity’s Soul”: “From helpless babe / to playful tot, a woman’s growth is not hard to spot. / From cheerful child / to testy teen and all the havoc wreaked in between, / a woman’s growth is well seen.” The book’s second section is titled “The Journey,” but the idea of existence being a voyage gives shape to much of the rest of the volume, as well. Early poems take on such themes as youth and new love; later pieces conceive of life as a challenging path; and the third section, “Living with Faith,” sketches out a model of growth and maturity that brings with it valuable wisdom: “If I decide to celebrate this journey traveled, / the people blest whose paths have crossed with mine, / I know what you shall reveal; / Love is found when least expected, / even when you think you are alone.” The author delivers these life lessons with energy but also with a sense of humility that makes them both plausible and attractive. The tone occasionally lapses into the conversational and colloquial, as if one is reading casual jottings in someone’s diary, rather than a polished verse collection. Yet this informality is more often a boon than a bane, and it lends the work an air of accessibility that welcomes readers in.
An accomplished collection of limpid, insightful verse.