Sunday Book Review – Upon Departure – Prose and #Poetry by John Roedel

I was introduced to the poetry of John Roedel by my lovely friend, Jane Sturgeon. Roedel writes heartfelt poetry from his soul. As a writer myself who writes raw from my soul, and as a griever, John’s poetry hits the mark with everything he writes. Upon Departure is his newest release I was eagerly awaiting to read. Roedel’s storytelling through prose and poetry is sure to touch anyone who has ever loved and lost.

Blurb:

From bestselling poet, storyteller and speaker John Roedel, comes a collection of poetry that explores the concept that our grief as a natural wonder that terraforms the landscape of our world in increments. It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.

let’s lace our hands
as if eternity is opening
up the veil into the great
mystery right in front of us

let’s feel our fingers against
each other as if this is the
last time we will touch before
we become celestial kites

let’s part our lips and say
what we should have said
to each other years ago:

“I love you.
I love you so.
I forgive you.

I’m sorry.
I’m blessed to know you.
I’m so grateful to you.”

My 5 Star Review:

Upon Departure is one of the best books I’ve read on heartfelt poetry, and on loving, life, and losing. After reading, Untied – the poetry of how knots become strings, also by Roedel, and as a writer myself, and one who is also living through grief, I will say that Roedel’s poetry speaks to me louder than some of the other many books I’ve read on grief. And this is simply because the rawness and realness of his pain jumps off the pages, especially to those of us who have also walked the walk – and are still walking through the haze of grief.

In this new release of prose and poetry, the book begins with a short introduction to Roedel’s journey of losing his father, the whirlwind of emotions, the unacceptance and disbelief, till the final acceptance, the ‘what ifs’ of doing things differently he experienced, and how the lingering effects continue through his own journey through life. In this beautiful book, you won’t find a table of contents, nor will you find titles of each poem, rather a story in prose spoken through poetry of words that paint pictures of loss, loving, hope, and eternal love, in metaphors. For anyone who loves emotional poetry, looking for comfort in poetry, or seeks a path in understanding grief, this is a book for you.

x

poem #1 begins:

“I don’t care what form

you return to me

I just want you back”

The poem continues on with stanzas about how Roedel doesn’t care in which form ‘you’ appear to me in various appearances:

“If you come back to me

as our favorite song on the radio

I’ll pull the car over immediately

and let the music retell our love story

on 80s power ballad at a time…”

“If you come back to me

as a row of goosebumps on my bare arm

I will trace my fingers across my skin

Carefully so I can read the love letter

you wrote to me in spirit braille…”

“If you come back to me

As a passage in a book

I will grab the fattest eraser I can find

And get rid of all the periods so you

Can become a run-on sentence…”

x

One of my favorites, Poem #10, grief summed up in a post card:

“Your grief is the purest love letter that you can ever send to the one you have lost to death…every tear that rolls down the grooves on your face is the most tender postcard you will ever write…”

x

Poem #12

“…everybody that you have lost along the way

returns to you on your last day

-it turns out that

love is a boomerang.”

x

Roedel has another wonderful book titled, Hey God, and wrote another excerpt for this book:

#13 – Me: Hey God…

“Grief keeps sneaking up on me.

God: To grieve means that you have loved. Grieving is one of the truest human experiences that you will ever participate in. It often arrives without warning – like a late-day summer storm – obscuring the sun and drenching you in downpour. It’s a gift, isn’t it?”

“…Bereavement is the debt you must pay for having loved. There is no getting over the loss of a beloved who is now resting in the arms of endless love. Grief has no expiration date. Despite the pass of time, the phantom pain of mourning is always one memory away from returning.”

x

From poem #15

“Every tear of

Loss that we shed

Carries with it

The DNA-of the relationship

Of the love

Of the story

That two people

Once shared…”

x

Poem #16 might be my favorite:

Tells about the writer stating he’s just a tourist in the world, and writes of all earthly experiences and possessions he’ll leave behind:

“…except for my

thoughts of you

-they are coming with me…”

x

Poem #22 – Where the author uses metaphors likening grief to a field of “rosebushes and bees”

“…Grief is a stretching field full

of thick beautiful rose bushes

and bees that you must travel

through to get to the other side…”

“…On the other side of the field of

grief is another – even bigger field

of grief that has even more beautiful

rose bushes and even angrier bees

and even more pointy thorns that you

must get through…”

x

Poignant moments:

“Being mortal means that we are all caught in a loop of meeting each other at Baggage Claim…”

Roedel goes on to say “To grieve the death of a beloved isn’t something that we check off in a box. Once we experience grief it changes us forever. Grief transforms us. Grief doesn’t just stay for a weekend, Grief moves into the loft of our hearts…”

“Grief isn’t an obstacle we overcome – it’s a masterclass in what it means to be human.”

“It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.”

“Life is life

there can be no after

for something that never ends…”

“…because love is the act of holding hands with

another person and counting to infinity by twos…”

“There is this unspoken call for us to have our wounds become scars long before they are ready to.”

“To grieve means that we have taken the risk to love without fear.”

“These tears are proof.

Of what?

That I loved.”

“It’s okay, my love. Eternity is holding me. Death isn’t an end. Death is a threshold. I’m still here. I never left. Love doesn’t die. I remain. There is no afterlife. There is only life. I’m here wih you. Love doesn’t die.”

“…After somebody that you love dies, it feels as if you have lost a limb. Even years later there can be phantom pains that can send you to your knees…”

©DGKaye2022

49 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review – Upon Departure – Prose and #Poetry by John Roedel

  1. Hi Debby – these poems sound ideal for so many – and obviously resonate with you … thanks for mentioning John Roedel to us – cheers Hilary

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  2. A beautiful review, Debby, and although I haven’t read any of John Roedel’s books, judging by the fragments you share, he is amazing. Thanks for the recommendation. ♥

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  3. What a beautiful review, Debby. Sometimes poetry just cuts to the chase in a way that prose can’t. It’s evocative and as you shared… it’s emotionally raw. I loved the many bits of poetry that you shared and can see why this book spoke to you. Beautiful imagery often speaks louder than words. Thanks for sharing your review and recommendation. Hugs.

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  4. Wonderful review of a book of poetry. I could say a book of beauty, and I do.
    I know this is coming from a very personal place.
    Thank you for all the quotes! It helps me understand the dimensionality of this book! xx

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  5. Poetry has such a unique way of reaching readers that other genres cannot… And it sounds like this book did exactly that for you, Debby. I am glad you found the read during this time and it helped, even a small bit, in your healing journey. Thank you too for sharing with us so openly here. HUGS

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  6. As you’ve no doubt noticed before, I’m neither a big reader nor much of a poetry writer. I try to extend myself now and then. Roedel’s work seems quite accessible to me and I can see how it fits in your world right now.

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  7. John’s poetry is unique and heartfelt. Just like you, our lovely UB. No wonder it resonates. A beautiful review and John will be touched. ❤ My lovely. Words are so powerful. ❤ ❤

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  8. I can see why this collection resonated with you. In fact, I found a line that I can adapt to an idea in my next book. Roedel’s work seems original–and authentic. Who ever thought of “grief as a natural wonder”?

    Thanks for sharing an author I’d never discover without your showcasing him here. Hugs to you, Debby!

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