Passing Stranger is a memoir in verse of one woman’s life. Poems weave through a marriage, a desire for motherhood, considerations of fertility and infertility, an eventual divorce and a woman finding herself in late middle age, ready to experience life to the full. Its themes will speak to all women who have experienced the joys and the tribulations of motherhood in all its complexities. The interweaving of its story of divorce after many years of marriage reflects a new reality for many women of middle and past middle-age. Nothing in life, as we know, is certain. We make plans, head into directions that go awry, our destinations shift and we find ourselves in the company of people who, but for being family, might be strangers.
It is these “Passing Strangers” met essentially by happenstance, in the close relationships a woman forms throughout her life who are at the heart of these poems. First, the passion and intimacy in a marriage believed to be “till death us do part” soon to be followed by pregnancy and motherhood. But in the space between these two major life events great loss is recounted. As she walks the path into and along her life’s journey this woman experiences love and joy, disappointment and grief. There are glances back and forward through a marriage and beyond. The desire for children is strong and appears to be denied in poems about pregnancy, loss and infertility. Until a birth brings a change of focus into motherhood. Ultimately, children grown, the marriage ends, and the woman realizes her strength.