On Life’s Terms
by Richard Wanderman, M.D.
Writers' Branding

"The rest is but a reflection
Cast from shadows of
A promise of unfathomable deception"

In this quietly powerful collection, readers find a variety of poems celebrating nature, the self, and ultimately life itself. They take part in quiet moments of observation, where snowflakes fall and reveal the wonder of individuality. One can meditate and discover how solace and the self offer the ultimate refuge from the storm. Other poems encourage readers to embrace their potential and let nature help dictate their life's course. Ultimately, the collection urges people to live life to the fullest and remember that "Life offers a blank page / Neither printed nor written upon / Only you have the pen."

When beginning this collection, one may be reminded of great poetic movements, such as when the Romantics or the American Transcendentalists were in their heydays. The poem "A Snowflake" depoliticizes the word "snowflake" by embracing the word as a powerful symbol for the individual. The poem's speaker declares, "Life's gift to each of us is a snowflake." The poem encourages readers to embrace their individuality by reminding them that humans are "each an individual" and "unique within our own shape." This poem ultimately sets the collection's tone, and each poem within the book stands as an individual snowflake, shining brightly.

Other poems like "Clouds and Imagination" possess a Wordsworth-like tone. The poem again celebrates the power of individuality: "Different eyes see associations anew." Like the Romantic poetry of the past, the poem embraces the power of childlike wonder and innocence, and it emphasizes the importance of imagination to a well-lived life and life-long learning. The natural imagery and celebrations of the self fuse together, "forming and changing / As endlessly as is our imagination."

Readers seeking inspirational poems that remind them of their purpose find such verses in this book. In "Reason for Being," one can take an inward and introspective journey. In Keats-like fashion, the poem affirms the power of solace and meditation. The speaker asks, "How far need we travel from home / To find security within ourselves." It then asks readers how they make time to venture into the "escape we carry within us," and it encourages them to make time for themselves "And lose ourselves within ourselves." This encouragement allows one to pause, think, and recenter.

The collection concludes with meditative insights about time, space, and even personal energy. "Immortality" conveys the sense of passing time. This brief, powerful poem ridicules the ways "We seek recognition, fame, immortality / By outrageous routes." It reminds readers of the significance of a concept that greed so often overrides: kindness. "But kindness is oft remembered. / And if it is not, / Its effects are." This simple message inspires readers to go forward, remembering that even their smallest acts can have the most profound impact on others.

Reading this collection is like settling in for a few moments of peaceful meditation on a sunny day. Each poem provides its own light, which warms readers, vitalizing them to carry that light forward to others. For those new to poetry, this book is the perfect starting place. For devoted poetry lovers, the collection has deep philosophical and exciting thinking and talking points that will leave them wanting to share the work with others. With the grace of Jelena Bango's With the Lamp of My Soul, the poems in this book are sure to leave its audience working towards a better sense of self.

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