Beaverton attorney Allen Reel, a former Catholic Sentinel legal columnist, has turned from matters of law to movements of the heart.

His new book, The Art of Undersong, is a collection of poetry, photos and notable quotes.
Reel's 30 crisply-writ poems assemble images and leave a lot of the interpreting to readers, in the manner of William Carlos Williams.

"Sittin' in lawn chairs/Lining the street/Flags coming by/Up on our feet," says one part of "Montana Memories." The poem ends with this: "Huddled together/Sippin' a beer/Ball in the end zone/Jump up and cheer."

Reel investigates the big parts of everyday life. In "Why Parent," he wonders if children bring joy or accomplishment. He ends up expressing that having a child is ineffable.
"Out of Nothing" ponders the expanding universe, atoms and human bodies, reaching the conclusion that only a "Big Banger" could have made it all happen.  

Reel's poem on being a poet is called "Just Do It." He wonders in the opening verses of one is born to verse or baptized with "pentameter's might."

"No one knows the answer to it," he answers. "Just take up the pen, start to do it."
"While I would like to receive critical acclaim, I really do not care of any critics ever see my work, let alone evaluate it," writes Reel, a former municipal court judge. "I just enjoy playing with words, or as Bill Moyers says in his book of the same title, 'fooling with words.' Reel says he wants ordinary people to judge his work.

"My efforts," he says, "will be successful if only one life is touched, if one person is changed, inspired, comforted or challenged because of what I have written."