Without from Within, is a collection of 43 poems. Ronnie Shaw brings alive aspects of his life that he’s written about in his other books. But there’s a finality to these ruminations. It’s through his verses he’s able to put another spin on his amazing life. The poems are his homage to his mother. “Within From Without is dedicated to my beloved mother, Anne Mae Shaw. May her sweet soul rest in God’s loving embrace.”
He said that poetry abled him to express his soul in a way that other mediums couldn’t. “While my other works in publication are integral parts of me, I now understand that poetry is the essence of who I was, am, and forever will be.”
There’s a Robert Frost element to his work. I’m particularly fond of the poem Blue. He’s got one more day at school to attend before he can go on a road trip that’s sponsored by the Rotary Club.
“mind wanders back to the spring of 1967
only five days left to go that school year
teenage boy from Atlanta’s inner city in
jeopardy, free ten-day vacation hanging
in balance teetering on disaster because
perfect attendance’s sickly prospect grew
more and more dreary by feverish minute”
His mother is sick also and Ronnie doesn’t want to leave her at the hospital. His mother tells him to move, “You got a bus to catch.” Ronnie says the manly thing is to stay. But his mother knows he really wants to go on the trip, and tells him to scam.
3AM is another poem about his pops, and it’s a tender gesture to a man he considered he’s real dad.
There’s empathy and heartaches in this book too.
Ronnie lost a nephew in the police force. He has written about him in his autobiographical book, Transmutation. It’s not a job for the faint hearted and there will be tragedies. But the poem Our Rusty transcends the pain of Ronnie’s loss, which makes it even the more poignant.
These poems show a tender side to the author.