February 24, 2018

Celebrating women in my life with poems – and a little banjo

With Mother’s Day almost upon us, it seems a good time to share a couple of poems I’ve recently published celebrating two of the many marvelous women in my life.

Mamaw with me on my first birthday.

The first poem is “Our Spirits Shall Sorrow No More.”  Available in both print and audio here in Deep South Magazine, it’s about my grandmother – known as “Mamaw” to multiple generations of my family – but if you grew up in the South or Appalachia, it may remind you of your mama or granny, too.

I think Mamaw would particularly like that I mention Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, two of her favorite country singers, in the poem. And she’d love that Kelsey Wells, my daughter, plays clawhammer banjo on the piece. As you’ll see, the entire poem is structured around just one line of the hymn “In the Sweet By and By:” In the sweet by and by we shall meet on that beautiful shore. 

Read and listen to “Our Spirits Shall Sorrow No More”

This is one of the tracks that will be on our CD, due out later in 2012.

Kudos to Deep South for its daily feature of poetry during National Poetry Month! I’m flattered that this poem was among those featured, and doubly delighted to have it mentioned again in Deep South’s distinctively Southern salute to National Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Also don’t miss Deep South’s 2012 Summer Reading List and fabulous book giveaway through August 1st!

The second poem, called “Praise Her,” was inspired by Proverbs 31:10-31, the famous passage that describes a “virtuous woman.”  Several years ago I came across the fact that in its original Hebrew, this passage is a poem in theabecedarian form. Abecedarian is a long word for a simple form – the first line of the poem starts with an A, the second line a B, and so on, all the way through the alphabet. One reason that this form may have been used is that it was another way to communicate that the woman being written about had it all, A to Z. Of course that’s been lost in the English translation.

As a poet, I found that very interesting, and I was also struck with wonder at how this passage might be updated to reflect a friend’s point of view. So here is my version, also in the abecedarian form, which I composed – and got to read aloud – in honor of my dear friend Kristina Brown’s ordination last year. It’s certainly not meant to be a translation and is admittedly a novice attempt at the form, but hopefully it continues the spirit of the Proverbs passage and captures some of the special things not only about Kristy, but about the blessings of close friends.

Read “Praise Her” in pdf format, as it appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Vocare, a magazine produced by Baptist Women in Ministry.

Thanks for stopping by, and to all my readers who are mothers, grandmothers, and other special women in the lives of family and friends, Happy Mother’s Day!










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