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Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers' Favorite
Poetry can suggest but not define the thoughts of the writer. There is always some little mystery about the meaning of words or the emotions behind them. M.H. Freeman in Before I Leave: Selected Poems and Poetic Prose, shows us wretched longing, sublime fulfillment, and painful disappointment. But he still holds something back. I like to try and figure out what he is holding back in these romantic and deep poems. There are many apt similes and rhythmic repetitions. Love is like looking into the sun and it is powerful but perhaps too bright. And there is no stopping the rain. Poem titles include: Weather Advisory, Capturing Beauty, A Woman's Worth, Buy Me Pizza, and Always Hiring. The overall title of the book can be interpreted in many ways. Perhaps Before I Leave means before I leave this life or before I leave a relationship.
M.H. Freeman has a strong yet vulnerable voice in these poetic writings. I felt as though he was reaching out to grasp something that he could never quite hold. His grief and love for his father seems clear and something he can touch. The grainy and subtly-colored book cover has a partially-clothed person with an obscured face. The title is set vertically which is eye-catching. I reacted most strongly to the verses about pain and how a person feels it. There are many light moments too, and a bit of worldly-wise humor which seems realistic. Before I Leave by M.H. Freeman will allow you to reach emotional depths and it might just improve your observation of the world.