Margaret O’Driscoll published her collection of poems, The Best things in Life Are Free, with us last year. She recently received a great review for her book and we decided to let you read what this reviewer has to say:
‘The Best things in Life are Free is an interesting proverb for a book title, as you get reading the eighty one poems spread over ninety one pages of the book, you find it being reiterated and at the end, you are reassured, this is not just a proverb, it is a good mantra to adapt for life.
The book opens out without a preface, dedication or introduction and rightly so as no introductions are needed, they would have been a superfluous.
Margaret’s poems speak directly for themselves. Speaking of the contents, it has an intriguing index, one which has titles of poems and page numbers, it works well, you can go directly to the poem you wish to read, however there are no serial numbers. I have noticed so many patterns which poets use to index the contents of their poems, there are plenty like me who mostly shun titles, then there are some who don’t even like page numbers and want the reader to read from end to end, some have no index at all, in this case the intriguing part was the index without serial numbers, as you read through the book, you find that , yes there is a definite pattern, a pattern that does not necessarily fit into serial numbers, Margaret’s poems are arrayed just as months are in a calendar year or seasons of the year, without watertight sections, the poems shift from months to changing season, it is a beautiful layout to arrange poems in a book, at the end of the reading, you realise not just months or seasons of calendar year, it is also a narration of various chapters of life from winter to spring, rains, autumn and back to winter.
The circle commences with the opening poem ‘A Speck of Blue” which holds out hope, graduates to autumn – “We are easing into Autumn’s/Ever changing kaleidoscope” , and onto winter, the penultimate poem is “The Great Escape” where the poet narrates the bare necessities of her happiness, frugal living with a purpose.’
‘Bird lovers will tell you that the real joy of bird watching is not just correct identification but observation of their flight, their beautiful plumage, courtship antics as well as bird songs which are so uplifting.
Margaret captures all these skilfully in multiple poems like for instance her poem Gold Crest, from the high pitched bird call “tsee tsee tsee” to the spotting and its accurate identification with its “ A flash of gold on its crown.’
Partner in Merriment
It is delightful to see the adult not just indulging the child but being a wholehearted partner in merriment. The poet is most at ease with her grandchildren as seen in the “Hazelnut Harvest” and she relates well with what brings joy to children.
‘The poem “Children’s Nature guide” is an immaculate calendar poem that illustrates the changing seasons throughout the year and the coinciding worthwhile unique events that must be observed or participated in nature. This simple poem has so much to teach, it should be taught to children in school to get them to understand nature.
I strongly recommend “The Best things in Life are Free” by Margaret O’Driscoll for all poetry lovers especially all nature lovers, birdwatchers, poets, young parents and children.’
While these are just excerpts of the review, as you can tell it is a rave review.
Well done and well deserved, Margaret!
About the Poet
Margaret O’Driscoll is a very busy mother of seven, grandmother of eleven and lives in Bandon Co. Cork. This is her first collection of poetry and it reflects the things in life that are the most meaningful and memorable for her.
About the Book
The poems in this collection recount time spent alone and time spent with family and friends enjoying the simple but most important things in life and the beauty and wonder of nature all around.
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