A Rhyme in Time is a colorful book–literally. Nearly every page features a different jewel-toned hue with the poems superimposed onto illustrated scene-scapes reminiscent of a Lord of the Rings-type fantasy novel, such as a courtyard with Celtic-esque engravings, a mystical waterfall, crossed swords, and rainbows. Even the author’s name, Shayne Cross, sounds like that of a swashbuckling hero.
With only 20 poems, each centered on 20 pages, this is a quick read. Cross, a ten-year Royal Australian Navy serviceman, has assembled a collection of fast-paced, rhyming poems full of masculine verve, as in “Rainforest,” in which the speaker shares how he is about to “Navigate the forest with an open ear / To [sic] dark to see, to [sic] dark to hear / Muscle my way deeper, arms clearing the dense / I should have stuck to the track if I had any sense.” (There are other spelling errors throughout, e.g.: “agony’s” instead of “agonies” and “eye’s” instead of “eyes,” which may deter readers.)
Some poems contain clichÃ©d but bright imagery, as in “Crystal Creek,” which describes “Emerald moss, / Ruby leaves” and features simple rhymes, “…above the water falls / … a lovers [sic] distant calls”; others include some enjoyably whimsical figurative language, as in “Estuary,” in which “An Angel fish conducts the sermon / In the only aquarium church.”
Cross often exercises his ability to describe action with rhythmic urgency, as in the poem “Total Fire Ban,” where we experience “chainsaws roaring / Diesel pumping, timber falling / Hoses lying across in droves / Beat around the bush” but also the nonsensical comparison “sweat dry as a bone.”
This is a lighthearted book that should have been proofread but may appeal to readers with an appreciation for a world of robust men who can be romantic but can also get down to business by panning for gold and, when necessary, selling a “horse to buy some meat.”
Also available as an ebook.