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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Life is full of choices: decisions to be made, directions to take, plans to follow. “We sit on fences all life long,/ daunted by choices,/ everywhere to turn." We make our choices in life and then we have to live with them, difficult as it sometimes may be. Once a decision is made and a choice followed through, there is no turning back; we all must move forward. “Whatever life the not chosen/ might have had/ is gone with never was,/ its chances over,/ its time passed.” We can’t live on the should-have-dones and the what-ifs. Time doesn’t stand still, it moves on and so must we. “Time is existence,/ the absence of nothingness/ or ending,/ independent of all else,/ needing nothing, no one,/ going on alone,/ silent, dark./ It is itself.”
Joseph E. LeBlanc Jr’s collection of poetry, The Road is Always Forked, is a profound vision of life: past, present, and future. Written in free verse, the lawyer-retired-to-poet has the wisdom and acumen of a life well-lived, which is succinctly and metaphorically written with eloquence and integrity. The title in itself is a poetic metaphor of the road of life we all must travel. The poet has organized the poems into five categories: Choices, Time Goes, They Said, Inward Looks, and Random Thoughts. The significance of each category is explained in the Introduction and the poet provides an in-depth perspective for each individual poem, challenging the reader to question everything from choices to direction to time, even to the words and thoughts the poet shares with us. This is a very insightful look at life, one that needs studying over and over again.