POETRY REVIEW: MINUS ONE: With Haikus and Other Poems: The Story of a Life by Elizabeth Merry

Title:            MINUS ONE: With Haikus and Other Poems: The Story of a Life                  

Author:      Elizabeth Merry

Cover of book Minus One by Elizabeth Merry

About The Author

Elizabeth Merry was born in Bangor, Co Down, but has spent most of her life in Dublin.

For many years Elizabeth Merry wrote primarily for children, publishing along the way a novel and several short stories. A play for children was broadcast on RTE Radio.

Elizabeth hopes to publish a collection of poems “The Red Petticoat” in the near future.

Book Blurb

This collection sums up the life of the poet. It begins with memories of her parents, in The Red Petticoat: “The lighthouse sweep and beam/Of her glad eyes/Lit us all, haloed the room/Where we stood in a row/To admire.” And in Minus One: “Your absence grips my throat/Chokes my breath . . . How much of you is me/Stretching to close the circle?” Other poems cover growing up and speak of friends and lovers, moving forward to parenthood and beyond, to old age in Bones: “Don’t look too close/Disintegration has begun/And death will lend it speed/Until my bones are bare and/Waiting for the second coming . . . ” And to death in Mortality: “Tombstones/Pale and cold/Line up, waiting/For my name . . . ” Throughout the collection, there are sections of Haikus, many with accompanying photographs: “Child of my child, I/scoop you up and hug you, breathe/you in and keep you.” References to the sea and the harbour move through this collection, lending a special atmosphere. These poems are filled with the many emotions of our lives and will appeal to all of us.

The Review

“Minus One” is a book of poetry that records the journey of the poet through her life. The poems are very well-written, captivating in their life-like descriptions, and touch the readers’ hearts from the word go.

The book begins with the poem Minus One that talks of how our parents live on in us. Towards the end, we have the poem The Black Dog that signifies the end. The final poem Mortality is an ending of hope that gave me a lasting smile. But of course, there are innumerable gems in the rest of the book, that demand more than one reading.

Elizabeth’s poetry has a beautiful rhythm and her choice of words bring the scenes alive for the readers. Her descriptions are a delight to read even when they are a little dark and gloomy. I especially love the poems Samhain, Loose Threads, and Cycles. The similies and adjectives are so unique to her voice, simple to understand, and yet, one gets the feeling that this couldn’t have been said any better. She uses a lot of symbols as she tells the story of her life, engaging her readers and making her poetry irresistible to readers of every age group.

The book has many Haikus accompanied by pictures that add depth to the words.

After a long time, I have come across a poetry book that I have read more than once. The poems are different- they have great depth but are light to read. They are sometimes dark yet don’t leave the reader depressed. They inspire me and I love that.

Minus One is a book that would be a wonderful addition to every poetry lover’s collection. I would love to read more from Elizabeth Merry. I’m sure you would too!


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