Salutations my thrilling Thrakos and Thrakenas, I hope your Wednesday has gone swimmingly. Mine has, as we have had enough rain, that had I chosen to go out in it I’d have had to swim, rather than fly. I have been anxiously awaiting this moment all day to reveal to you this evening’s Gem. A multifaceted prism of multitudinous colours, it is beautiful, engaging and delightful. Turn it one way in the light it will cause a tear or two, turn it another, it will make you chuckle. A quick turn may make you think long and hard, another may cause you to breathe an “amen” before you realize it has escaped your lips.
This is “irregardless” by Gem Maker Janine Riker. A collection of poems based on free verse, its rhythms and rhymes go beyond the fluffy poetic at times, though some are just silly and fun and that is a relief, far too often poets and poetesses take themselves and the world around them far too seriously (but then don’t we all).
I liked all of these poems, I loved some of these poems. Ms. Riker has a line at the start of the book that says: “There are poems in this book that WILL offend some people.” I’d like to say I appreciate her saying that, but honestly, I don’t want a book of poetry that doesn’t strike a nerve somewhere. I don’t think poetry that doesn’t strike a nerve is a waste of time, both mine and the poets. I remember once, a student in a class I was teaching was offended by Robert Frost’s “Home Burial”. She said that we ought not read that in class because too many people have lost children, she hadn’t but others had and it might hurt them. Another student then spoke up and said she’d lost two sons in the war and it was a comfort to her to know that other couples had gone through what she and her husband had. We sometimes need the sting of the pain of others to remind us we are not alone. That we are not the solitary soldier in a fight. That is what literature is for.
My favorite poem in this book ( and believe me it was hard to pick a favorite, but I managed) is ‘ Unkind Years’ which speaks of not regretting the years that have been unkind to us because of the things which came out of them. I read it three times in a row, finished the book and read it again. And then I read it again later today. My next favorite and one I plan to read every New Year’s Eve until either I enter my Eternal Rest or The Trumpet Sounds is ‘New Year’s Poem’. I don’t do resolutions. I think they are only setting myself up for failure. This poem is a “stock taking” of One’s self over the past year. It is quiet and humble and beautiful in it’s simplicity.
I chuckled over ‘ Mad Dash’ and ‘ Epic Fail’ and wept a few parental tears over ‘First Born’ and ‘Summertime Frolicking’. This is the first book of poetry I have read in a long time that sparked that lovely feeling I used to get when I read poems. The love of verse. The love of the way the words flowed and pictures formed in my head and my heart. That snatches of the verses came back to me as I was doing other things a day later or two days later, felt wonderful.
If you want to give yourself a treat, treat yourself to this, some Prince of Wales tea (or your favorite beverage) and a nice fuzzy blanket and settle in. Slip this in your stocking. And if you would really like to be nice, buy an extra copy and slip it in someone else’s stocking, too.
Until tomorrow, I remain, your humble Book Dragon, Drakon T. Longwitten