Friday, July 4, 2008

More Senior Poems: A Book Review

I've recently added another relatively unknown book to my Listmania list "Poems for and by Seniors Citizens." It's Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man by Harry E. Gilleland, Jr. (Lulu, 2008).

While it wouldn't be classified as great literature, this book illustrates my point that seniors should consider expressing their lives and their thoughts in poetic form. This book provides an interesting tour through the author's mind.

In categories including "Rhyming Poems and Storoems (Story Poems)," "Two Limericks," "Acrostic Poems," and "Free Verse Poems," Gilleland writes on many subjects serious and humorous.

"Women Just Don't Get It!" ends with these lines: "Most women simply fail to understand how deep / a man's passion runs. They just don't get it at all. / If they had any inkling, then they wouldn't keep / saying, 'Why get so excited? It's only football.'"

Senior experiences are reflected: "I stand looking wistfully / back at them, my yesterdays . . . / knowing now my yesterdays outnumber my tomorrows." In "What War Is," Gilleland sees war as "Mankind's brutality unleashed," "Failure of reason," "An abomination for all mankind," although he admits that war is sometimes unavoidable.

The final poem, "Ghetto Dweller," is written in the voice of a young man who experienced typical ghetto life: gangs, drugs, prison. "I wasn't 'fraid of nothing or nobody. / And nobody talked down to me." The young man's fate was to be gunned down in the street at age twenty-two. "What you gonna do? / 'Aint no way to break the ghetto cycle. / Just 'aint no way." Gilleland's observations about life in this and most of his other poems ring true.

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

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