Review of Once In a Lifetime, a poetry collection by F. Richard Thomas
published by Years Press
6×9 97 pages
cover design: Helen Stork
Beginning with the cover I felt the personality and humanity of Dick Thomas. Standing by his young wife, a baby slung on his hip, her arms wrapped around a second child, we see them young, burly and confident standing in front of a log cabin they have built themselves. In the poem Brown County, Indiana, Thomas makes his most poignant point considering how unfamiliar these shining young people would be with the frailties and complications of aging that the poet and his wife, Sherry, now face well into the second half-century of their lives and marriage. And we learn what these optimistic youth managed to hold on to all these years later as they shore up the autumn of their existence. It is mature writing, a mature subject, told with poignancy, humor and self-awareness – a good example of how we all can face our futures.
I Walked the Dog Today
but this time
we took a new route
and met a new dog
It was a
once in a lifetime
Dick Thomas calls himself a student of the alchemy of words and I see it so clearly with a Beatlick Joe enjoyment in the poem Logophilia: My callipygian septuagenarian. And elsewhere such enjoyable words as beef-witted, gargonized, slubberdegullion.
The reader learns who the poet is as an individual in personal poems: Chemistry, Naming the Trees in New Mexico, My Desk, in clever ways, with a knack. You can’t accuse the writer of being hackneyed.
This is a great book to read in the bed, on the deck, someplace quiet, because these poems will elicit your own memories and truths, struggles. It is told as the author says in his own final poem:
that falls in a lovely curve
from the lip of creation.
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