In Season’s Dreams by R. Tirrell Leonard Jr. is a poetry collection reflecting on nature. Divided into four sections named for the seasons, it begins with “Spring” and ends with “Winter.”
Absence—or leavings and what remains behind— is a strong theme throughout the book. For example, in “Tides,” the poet writes: “The tidewaters / Left the mud and stone/ With shallow/ Puddles of faith.” The author also explores evanescence, as embodied by celestial bodies that symbolize the mysteriousness of one’s inner life. For instance, “At Storm’s End” begins: “Up at night, I saw the clouds and moon / And I traced the thin lines out across /My thoughts and my prayers, to the last rune.”
The collection has a warm and gentle tone laced with melancholy; many poems focus on the passage of time in the face of our desire to hold onto the past. Images from the natural world abound, some cliché (“I see again, our hopes had dashed on the rocks”; “The wind whispers through the willows”), others fresh and effective (“I reach up as if for stars,/ and land in muddy puddles./ Pumpkins grin along the path.”)
While most of the poems are free verse, some offer easy, familiar rhymes, such as “bees”/ “trees” and “butterflies”/ “skies.” These would be stronger with more interesting, original words at the ends of lines. Also, several poems end exactly as they began, such as “Fireflies in a Jar,” which starts and concludes with: “I caught a bunch of fireflies/ And sealed them in a glass jar.” While this technique could be effective in isolation, it becomes repetitive across multiple pieces and begins to feel like a gimmick or crutch the author is relying on to create tidy endings.
This uneven offering provides lovely, graceful moments mixed with more commonplace conceits. It will appeal most to readers who enjoy contemplative poems about nature and impermanence.
Also available as an ebook.