Poetry of Life is a collection of 34 poems that cover a wide spectrum of topics, from the horrors of 9/11 to the love that’s inherent in “Mum’s Sunday roast.”
Most of the poems fall loosely into three main subjects: the natural world, as in “The Butterfly” and “Misty Morn”; emotional abstractions like “Sadness,” and “Fear”; and the global political landscape, as in “America under Attack” and “The Taliban.” Some rhyme; others do not.
Some of the work here might be considered light inspirational verse. For example: “When you leave this house today,/ Please take these seeds to make your life/ Full of promise, full of growth,/ Full of love, and full of hope.” Or: “The saying ‘One door closes, another opens’/ Is the lesson we learn in life./ We may not see the benefits ahead/ When others make us change, but/ As time goes by, we know life is right.”
As the lines above indicate, the poetry generally relies on familiar images and ideas: a garden serves as a metaphor for personal growth; a piece about the Taliban talks about “A sea of human misery.” There are no surprising insights or startling images to awaken readers’ senses, and the work often reads more like prose than poetry, offering ideas in plain, straightforward language rather than fresh lyrical innovations or creative uses of form. While the poems lack the kind of distinctive details that would move them beyond the generic, they may hold appeal to those looking for easily accessible work.
Black-and-white photographs accompany some poems, but often they seem unrelated to the subject matter (for example, two dogs in a field are paired with a poem about an elderly couple).
Overall, these pieces may be enjoyed by Cousins’ friends and family and readers who appreciate poems of the inspirational, religious, and self-help genres. Those who prefer more sophisticated fare will want to look elsewhere.
Also available as an ebook.