Helena Harper’s poetry book, Family and More, is autobiographical, but that does not detract from the feelings it engenders from readers! We are able to empathize with the author when she asks, which is my enemy? We are able to enjoy the stories she poetically shares about her family. Personally, I was, overall, impressed with the quality to the poetry and the skill that would be required to share these personal tales!
For indeed they are tales—the tale of her grandparents, her parents, and of herself as a baby. Surely we immediately know that Helena’s father is English and they were living there in England when she was born. And they were already hoping and praying that no war—no bombs or guns would invade the life of their child. Would their daughter be a symbol of hope for the future?
Soon we learn that Helena’s mother is from Germany and how that country was in her youth, only to have war enter that picture and the need to leave their country and escape, enduring “soup of water” for lunch or no food at all. Then we see the courageous woman grow and flourish, even while still under duress.
Will those of us who have never experienced war ever really understand? I think we can begin to by reading the words of those who are willing to share them so revealingly...
On she goes to share of her father, her grandmother, and even of her grandfather whom she had never known. Yet her love shines through as she has gathered information and placed it carefully together to both learn of and tell others of his life.
I found myself in the story of “The Colleague,” as I remembered the woman who was my first mentor and who has remained my best friend for over 40 years!
...showing the way to a younger one
with new ideas
but just three years under her belt.
A gentle manner guiding the younger
and an open mind willingly receiving...
And, alas, I also could well relate to “The Boss,” that individual—or worse—those individuals we all have in our lives who turn out to be “a devil in disguise, ready to stab you in the back...”
Harper then includes medical staff, coaches, etc., who have supported her in some way! Surely, Family and More by Helena Harper is a rare tribute; however, it is also a sharing of poetic words that are both beautiful and thought provoking in how we should remember and realize the impact of family and friends...and even an enemy or two. A delightful trip for poetry lovers as well as those who wish to remember their own families through the experiences of others.
G. A. Bixler