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Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite
Life loved, lived and lost should be the subtitle for Lost Key in Marriage, a poignant offering of poems by The Duke of Quails. While relatively compact insofar as book length goes, Lost Key in Marriage definitely packs a huge emotional punch. It’s divided into four sections: What I Have (now) – the fights and arguments which lead to doubt about a spouse’s love; What You Had (before marriage) – a fairy tale between two kindred souls; The Lost Key – the one special thing your significant other once had but has no longer; and finally, The Last Word – a call to action, if you will, preventing the loss of the one person who holds the key to your heart.
The Duke of Quails’ offerings aren’t typical poems in the sense that they exhibit elements of meter, rhyme and stanzaic structure. While there are the odd rhyming couplets here and there, the words more or less flow freely, without constraint to hinder the tidal wave of emotion and raw pain that the poet lets loose on his readers, emphasized to some extent by his choice of scripted font. With each poem, we as readers are given an entrée into the shell of a marriage that once had thrived but doesn't any longer, made all too clear with titles like No One is Listening, Our Money Problems, He Changed and I’ll Drink My Pain.
There is such a sad poignancy in The Door, where Quails writes, “The first time, carrying you in a life of happiness that would soon begin, The door is who we were, the change that occurred is such a mystery…” He offsets this sadness in Promoter, where he captures the energy and purity of new love, writing “You’re not someone who gets in the way. Instead, you’re a gift to me every day, supporting me in every decision I make.” Love and romance are deconstructed rather brilliantly in Losing My Wife and Things You Stopped Doing, arguably the ideal checklist for signs of a troubled marriage. There is the odd grammatical error in Lost Key in Marriage but this by no means impacts the reader’s ability to feel, to empathize, or to yearn for a very special time that once was.