With In a Roundabout Way: Quick Words, Curious Years, Long Miles (2021), available on Amazon, Hawaii Fiction Writers member John Simonds gives us a look at the world and events of our times.
As I read these poems I imagined a voice reading aloud to us, word by word, line by line, at a slow pace, letting each image and each thought settle in our ears and in our minds.
When I reached my favorite poem in the collection, "RFK's Last Ride," I did stop and reread it aloud, slowly, mournfully, as it told the story of Bobby Kennedy's funeral train arriving in D.C.'s Union Station as the speaker waits for its arrival.
The final stanza is perfect: "Vehicles of sympathy move slowly/ with the famous and comforted/ sharing tragedy from inside./ Strangers on the outside wave/ signs of hope, their faces of sorrow/ bearing trust in a journey's message."
Thank you, John!
And here are some of John's thoughts on the book:
As in my two earlier books of poetry, “In a Roundabout Way” shares a writer’s eclectic thoughts about the big and small universes in which his personal planet travels and twirls. And, like previous efforts, it combines current observations, past reflections and suggested links from headline topics to ordinary moments.
The prospect of a life-ending health crisis with its prescribed solitude added urgency to getting this book published while both history and its survivors were sill warm and breathing. Anyone reading these words hopefully has had much the same good fortune as this writer (sound of knuckles on koa) and may sense my gratitude on every page.
Also evident in many of the poems is a continuing quest for meaning among competing values and random forces, as in the lines from "Objects in Motion."
…”Which stone to choose,
which token to mount or cradle,
loom into view as Earth approaches.
The person browsing beliefs
may value rocks’ roots as remnants of fortune
anchored as links to soil within us,
as the planet we open to mine
yields fragments of light everlasting.”