Poetry isn’t just a few words placed nicely together on a page. Instead, poetry awakens us to thoughts and feeling that are repressed by our daily life¾or are newly discovered. As readers poetry helps us understand the significance of words, but more importantly, it helps us to understand ourselves. In Fair Now Later Rain, Jeremy Long takes us on a poetic journey of human emotion and the never-ending search for the meaning of life. Vivid images of nature and the season of Fall permeate this collection. Elegant and reflective in nature, Long explores the themes of love, death, hope, and Christianity.
“I’m standing here and I’m doing alright,” begins “Crumble, I’m a Mountain,” a poem about death, decay and rebirth. Reading this opening brought back memories of a simple time before I received the dreaded phone call announcing my mother was indeed dying. Mr. Long’s poems on death and grief beautifully capture the sorrow of those left behind. Pain and death are two things we can never escape, but in every situation, however painful, God always offers us hope. A beautiful poem that reflects this hope is “Common Lilies.” It is a short poem with only two lines, but it says so much. “Hope is a flower born of what once was there.”
For those concerned that this collection may focus too much on death and the aftermath, fear not. Mr. Long offers several witty, thought-provoking short poems¾even humorous ones that are peppered throughout the collection. In, “Oak,” we are left to ponder the task of an acorn. “An acorn that falls is halfway to completing its task.” The poem, “Watch This Skinner” is a humorous take on the all too familiar my dog is smarter than your honor student bumper sticker.
Christianity and Christian themes appear throughout Fair Now Later Rain. In Matthew 6:3 Jesus teaches us, “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing.” With knowledge of that teaching, Long writes “Yeshua.” “Hide your good deeds so that the Lord may see.” We are restless until we rest in God. In “Contrite Dew,” Long reflects on our turning away and yearning for God. “Each dawn I awake to see the grass has cried again. This is what it’s like to be away from your son.”
Fair Now Later Rain is a large collection of poems meant to be read in small bites. There is so much to take in¾each new poem was a rebirth of emotion. It’s like a weather forecast for the human experience. I read each poem, slowly savoring each word. They seem to stay with me, more so that other poetry collections I’ve read in the past.
I highly recommend this book to all, especially those who have experienced loss. Catholics and Christians will appreciate the poems that deal with Christian themes. Lovers of Fall will delight in Long’s imagery of nature and fallen leaves. I suggest buying the hard copy of the book: no doubt there will be a poem or two that you will want to go back to from time to time. I’d like to end this review by quoting one of my favorite poems in Fair Now Later Rain, “Eternity, Bless My Soul.”
“May the rain never cause me worry.”