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Friday, July 25, 2014

Grandmother’s Unpublishable Poetry

I write poetry.  Some of it, occasionally, is decent – at least I think so.  And, apparently, a few others do as well; I have a book of poems set to be published later this year.  But I’m not the only poet in my family.  My grandmother Irene (my father’s mother) wrote a large number of poems during her life.  After she died last week, my dad and I sorted through the few belongings she had with her at the nursing home.  Among them was a three-ring binder of her poetry – going back as far as 1969, which my father asked me to look over, to see if it would be worth trying to have them published. 

But they’re not.  Really.  Even if she’s family, I have to say that they’re not very good.  There is a lack of rhythm.  The rhymes are awkward and strained variations of say / way, need / indeed, et cetera.  There are few instances of assonance or alliteration.  Few metaphors, similes, or analogies. There are frequent problems with grammar. And her spelling – well, I really shouldn’t criticize; without spell check, I’d have trouble there too.

Grandma Irene was a simple woman with a simple faith.  There are no deep thoughts or profound insights in her poetry.  It’s mostly Christian clichés strung together.  They’re not publishable.  But I’ve appreciated having the chance to read through them and to learn more about her.

Seek Ye First

Seek ye first My Kingdom
And this I will do
All that I have said
Will be given to you

Seek ye first My Voice to hear
And this I speak to you
The best part of communion with Me
is to stand still and do
                    all I tell you to

Seek ye first to Speak always of Me
And this I say
Tell other of My Love
I will repay

Seek ye first to help others
And this indeed
All that I send to you
Will meet all your need!

- Irene Carter
Monday, October 9, 1972


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Jeff Carter's books on Goodreads
Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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