Poems (Signe Dolores Lepse)

One new thing I’ve done this year with my Reading Challenge is consume more poetry. I used to buy into the idea that a book of poetry doesn’t “count” toward my reading goals, so I avoided it. Let me tell you, friends, all that did was deprive me of years of beautiful writing.

Title – Poems

Author – Signe Dolores Lepse

Poem count – 58

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 5/5

I picked up this little volume at my public library’s book sale. One thing I appreciate about these poems is that the author’s Midwestern background is clearly apparent. She grew up and spent most of her life in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota/Sioux City, Iowa area, until moving to Iowa City in 1980. The poems in this book are from the time her children were in grade school in Sioux City until the 1993 publication date.

The book doesn’t specify, but my guess is that these poems are arranged in chronological order. There is a clear change in style. (Keep in mind I don’t know the official jargon for analyzing poetry…bear with me.) Her poems at the start use the technique of ending each line with rhymes (AABB, ABAB/ACAC, etc.), and she experiments with purposely disrupting the rhyme order or using punctuation Emily Dickinson-style. Her later poems are more free-form with less rhyming and full sentences. She writes a lot about nature and people, and employs a thoughtful, almost spiritual vocabulary.

Here is one of her shorter poems, titled “Quiet” –

Peony petals lie layered in grass,

Speaking in silence of wholeness that’s lost.

Battles we saw not with night winds that pass,

Tossed the bright heads, and we count now the cost.


Storms that in life are the hardest to bear

Do the most damage: hurts the most gross –

Find us reluctant, unwilling to dare

Tell of the worst. It is muteness says most.



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