Laurel Lancer tells us in her introduction that she was “born into a family of poets and poetry lovers.” The title of her collection comes from a poem written by her youngest daughter: “God has given me love./ A little child walks form the sea./ And when God leaves,/ Someone takes care of me.” The poems that follow, arranged several to a page and interspersed with pastel paintings, deliver inspirational light verse.
These poems are divided into 11 sections and arranged in rhymed couplets as well as stanzas that rhyme on the second and fourth lines, creating a childish, sing-song effect. They relay familiar advice (such as “Get up, My Boy, and just brush off./ I know you’re feeling hurt./ Life gives us all great obstacles./ Arise out of the dirt” ), present clichéd imagery (such as “Good things are puppies snuggling near,/ After storms when the skies are clear./ A lovely rainbow in the sky,/ A bright kite that you helped to fly” ), and offer sentimental portraits of close family and friends (such as “She was called Nana, with great love,/ By relative and friend./ She was generous beyond belief./ All ills she’d try to mend.”).
The sections titled FOR MY KIDS and MY PEOPLE seem more private and personally meaningful than the poems intended for a wider audience. A section such as HOPE ETERNAL is well-suited to religious greeting cards. MORE RHYMES FOR CHILDREN would be best presented in a separate collection with young readers as the primary audience.
As a whole, A Walk from the Sea is well produced, with an attractive layout and skilled, evocative illustrations. The poetry, however, lacks a distinctive voice or point of view. It reads more like the author’s scrapbook of treasured memories and reflections than a volume that is stylistically sophisticated and ideologically provocative enough to engage the larger readership of contemporary poetry.