Editor's note: Patricia Frolander is a finalist in the Woman Writer category of the 2021 High Plains Book Awards.
Patricia Frolander’s book of poetry, “Second Wind,” a finalist in the Woman Writer category of the High Plains Book Awards, elucidates the lifecycle of flora, fauna, and mankind. Her use of lyrical verse creates enchanting and elevated experiences for the reader, even when the topic is commonplace.
Broken into three segments, “Old Pasture,” “Drought,” and “Fresh Grass,” the text works in conjunction with the book’s title. Detailed imagery brings the reader to a bustling kitchen in the poem “Bernice” with one woman doing it all while telling her neighbor about life and passing on her legacy.
“Tales of illness and accidents blend with cornstarch, water, eggs, lemon, and sugar” (14).
Frolander’s tone convincingly shifts from one poem to the next with exquisite descriptions and conscientious word choice. She can inspire urgency or complete calm.
“Banquets” captures a certain tranquility, quiet work – action and reaction – as a married couple feeds their horses on a winter’s day: “Five saddle horses, snow flying beneath trim bellies, skid to a stop at the upper gate, wait impatiently for their morning banquet, Soft nickers float on the morning breeze” (16).
The section entitled “Drought” takes on the most interesting metaphors in the book. Frolander plays with the idea of drought – something lacking, deficient, dried up. There is a scarcity of life that occurs, not just the idea of a barren landscape without water.
“For Sale” portrays a 94-year-old rancher dictated by age and ailment taking witness to the loss of his youth, his autonomy, and legacy: “The house lists west, yawning in sunshine as he peeks through a small bedroom window where his children were conceived; his children, who now print sale bills cataloging his life’s work” (35).
One of the most powerful poems of the book, “Weakness in the Mind,” in the final section, “Fresh Grass,” captures the concept of “Second Wind” in a most unexpected way. A sickly wife reveals her husband’s infidelity to friends. They are sure she is wrong, tired – weak minds run in the family. “He’s not that kind of cowboy” (63). When the truth is exposed, the second wind is revealed.
Charity Dewing graduated from Pacific University, Oregon with an MFA in creative writing, and works at MSUB in the English department.