Reviewed by Max Rodriguez
Lyrics of Mature Hearts: A Poetry Anthology
Bob McNeil, Gordon P. Bois, eds.
Gordon P. Bois Publications, PB, $9.99, 68 pp.
Poet and editor Bob McNeil has found a universal theme - the fear of aging - and has turned it into a thing of wisdom and beauty. Lyrics of Mature Hearts is a book of poetry in format only; this anthology is human wisdom in poetic form. In his Introduction, the editor is smart and playful with his words, artfully setting the table for the insights that follow.
“Upon starting this anthology endeavor, I searched for poets, who like me, did not cling to youth the way hairspray holds a comb over. Honestly, at the very beginning, many contributors avoided the subject as if they were bats fleeing the dawn. Others, thankfully, confronted the severe light of what old age means. Their verses are replete with candor, not candy.”
In their poems, the contributors embrace and celebrate the newly-found freedoms of maturity while even, at times, mourning their waning youth – an all too human rite of passage. I would not be surprised to find this book in a library’s self-awareness, self-help, or spiritual awakening section.
Archived (from Lyrics of Mature Hearts)
Short-term memory loss is similar
to watching TV commercials.
The memories ask for my attention,
only to lose it by
the next round of remembrances.
Other times that loss of short-term memories
reminds me of movie trailers.
Although the memories are loud
and lavishly bright with self-importance,
in the end, they leave no inerasable image.
Sometimes short-term memories
can appear like billboards
through an express train window,
flashing briefly as the locomotive
Moves to the next station.
At this station of my mature life,
I am content just having a long-term
memory of once loving you.
Poignant and sad; joyful and self-affirming; Lyrics of Mature Hearts is a great gift and a gem for the ages.