Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Do You Remember the First Poetry Book You Bought?

My mother was a great one for reading aloud to her young children. Some of my earliest memories, notwithstanding putting the dog in the oven or pouring shoe polish on the sofa, are of my mother reading to me. I learned many Mother Goose nursery rhymes sitting next to her on the (repaired) sofa. Story time involved a big green book entitled Stories Children Love by Watty Piper, first published in the 1920s with the kinds of illustrations popular for children at the time. 

I still have that book. I loved the stories filled big bad wolves, evil stepmothers, giants, and ogres. The binding is now wearing thin, but it’s still intact. You can find the listing on Amazon, but it’s “currently unavailable.” 


I was the middle child, with fairly large gaps between me and my two brothers. Mother read to all three of us, but for whatever reason, I turned out to be the major reader in the family. That became a lifelong habit, and I give full credit to my mother for instilling a love of reading and books in me. 

To continue reading, please see me post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Some Tuesday Readings


Light rain – poem and artwork by Sonja Benskin Mesher.


More of this, please: Ilya Kaminsky writes a poetic response to Giacometti – Janet Manley at Literary Hub.


A salvaged word – Kelly Belmonte at All Nine.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Walking this path

After Ephesians 4:1-16

Walking this path, disparate people

being knitted together into one,

one garment, one body, a body

that works as an intention

of the Lord, the body of the Lord,

pierced, a body with a purpose,

a body with a presence.


Disparate people, walking this path,

learning the way, teaching each other

the way forward, the older serving

the younger serving the older serving

the child serving the parent serving 

the sick serving the ailing serving

the aging serving the despondent

serving the strong serving the mother

serving the father serving the child

serving the older.


Disparate people walking a path,

walking in humility, walking

in gentleness, walking in patience,

walking in love for others,

walking in unity, walking

in peace, walking as one body

and one spirit and one hope

with one Lord and one baptism

and one God and one Father

of all.


The people endure the journey

as they endure each other, loving

one another. Enduring one another

makes them one.


Photograph by Iswanto Arif via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Monday Readings


The Death of the Literary Feud – Willian Fear at The Critic Magazine.


The Mosaic Makers of Hackney – Spitalfields Life.


The Two-Parent Advantage – W. Bradford Wilcox at CityJournal. 


Do We Need Regime Change of a Change in Heart? – John Horvat at The Imaginative Conservative.

They follow him

After John 6:1-15, 24-40

They follow him,

the thousands, from

the sea, climbing up

the mountain. His men,

knowing the feast is

at hand, are distressed:

how to feed thousands,

with almost nothing

to feed them with, except

for what a boy carries

with him, likely for 

his own meal: five loaves,

two fishes. 

He has them sit,

he has the thousands sit,

and he feeds them,

fully, with leftovers.


Photograph by Pablo Merchรกn Montes via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Sunday Readings


Places I Can’t Go – Karen Wade Hayes.


The Battle for the Body – Carl Trueman at First Things Magazine.


David Hoffman at St. Botolph’s Aldgate – Spitalfields Life.


The One, True, Imaginative Vision – T. Renee Kozinski at The Imaginative Conservative.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Saturday Good Reads - Sept. 23, 2023

It’s that time of the year: literary prize season. I used to follow, rather avidly, the lists of various prizes for literature, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and reporting. But times change, and so do lists. Literary lists are supposed to be about quality, and I would review whatever would win the Eliot Prize, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and others.  Now they seem to be more about checking various political boxes. It’s unfortunate, but our literary culture is suffused with this stuff now. If you’re interested, six works made the Booker Short List, and four made the 2023 Dos Passos Prize short list. The T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize short list will be announced in a few weeks.

 Each day in October, Paul Brookes is posting a video of him reading a sonnet from his collection As Folktaletellerand inviting people to submit their own poems. 


We might moan and groan about it, but the fact is that we love the culture war. We can hanf]g out with our tribes and point out how ignorant the other side is. Pierre d’Alancaisez at The Critic Magazine argues that the culture war has become the culture


More Good Reads


Life and Culture


5 myths about mental illness – Tom Karel at Crossway.


Now is the Time to Renew History Departments – David Randall at James Martin Center.


The Woman Who Stood Up to the Porn Industry—and Won – Nancy Rommelmann at The Free Press.




Thirteen-Hour Days: Did Jonathan Edwards Neglect His Family? – Don Whitney at Desiring God. 


The Living Water: An Introduction to 50 Holy Wells – Paul Kingsnorth at The Abbey of Misrule. 


Something Flimsy as Stone – Tim Challies.


Marriage is a Steel Trap – Darryl Dash at DashHouse.


American Stuff


The Last of the Romans: Charles Carroll of Carrollton – Bradley Birzer at The Imaginative Conservative.


How Bleeding Kansas Led to the Civil War – Nadra Kareen Nittle at History.


The Heartbreaking Civil War Ballad of “Paddy’s Lament” (Part I) and Part II– Tonya McQuade at Emerging Civil War.


British Stuff


An architect for the centuries – how to share in events marking 300 years since the death of Christopher Wren– Louis Jebb at The Art Newspaper.


Northwick Church, South Gloucestershire – Barb Drummond at Curious Histories.


Writing and Literature


How much of Dickens’ London is fiction? – A.N. Wilson at The Spectator.




Night Bird Singing – Louis Groarke at Society of Classical Poets.




Exploring Grieg’s Exquisite Piano Concerto – Terez Rose at The Imaginative Conservative.




Change – Sonja Benskin Mesher.


Before the Throne of God Above – Joseph Bradshaw & Sandra McCracken

Photograph by Viktor Forgacs via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Friday, September 22, 2023

The woman weeps

After Luke 7:24-50

In the crowd, curious,

she hears him speak,

his words cutting into

her heart, burning

like hot coals, and she

stumbles away, tears

streaming, wandering

the streets, ignoring or

not hearing the usual

taunts and insults

hurled at her. She hears

nothing but his words,

burning words. She sees

him again, at the table

in the house of the Pharisee,

and she defies convention

and enters, kneeling

before the man who spoke

the words. She lets down 

her hair in submission and

love, and anoints his feet

with her tears.


Photograph by Stephany Lorena via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Friday Readings


Guilt, Grief, & “Metanoia” – Joseph Mussoneli at The Imaginative Conservative.


Taste and See: A Review of Christian Poetry in America Since 1940 – Eric Potter at Front Porch Republic.


From The Five Quintets – poem by Micheal O’Siadhall. 


Making the most of things: time and trajectory – Andrew Roycroft at Thinking Pastorally.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

"Murder of a Lover" by Faith Martin

Former DI Hillary Greene is continuing her work with the cold case squad at the Oxford / Kidlington Police Station. Having solved her first cold case, a 20-year-old murder, she’s now handed one that looks almost unsolvable – a 10-year-old case of an Oxford student found stabbed to death with a pair of scissors in his flat near the university. 

The detective investigating the crime at the time focused his efforts on two other students, one the victim’s girlfriend. Both also rented flats in the building. As Hillary and her team slowly peel back the layers of the past, they discover a victim who saw himself as something of a sexual athlete and with a considerable number of people, women and men, who had been hurt and might have a motive for murder. But was any of these motives strong enough for murder?


Hillary’s stalker, whom we me in the previous novel, Murder Never Retires, starts becoming more aggressive. The reader knows who he is from the start; what we learn now is that he had previously stalked other women. When the relationships didn’t go as the stalker expected, they ended very badly indeed for the women being stalked. And the stalking of Hillary is taking a turn for the dark. She and her new boss decide to fake a relationship and force the stalker into the open, except there’s very little faked from the beginning.


Faith Martin

Murder of a Lover
 is the 13th DI Hillary Greene mystery novel by Faith Martin. As with its predecessors, it’s fascinating to watch Hillary solve cases other detectives can’t, looking at facts, speculation, and motives in a completely different light. And so far, she’s solved everything handed to her. Her teams has its strengths and weaknesses – a retired police detective, a young man who’s eager to learn police work, and another student who’s less interested in the work at hand and more interested in pursuing Hillary’s boss.


In addition to the DI Hillary Greene novels, Martin (a pen name for Jacquie Walton) has also published the Ryder and Loveday novels as well as the Jenny Sterling mysteries. Under the name Joyce Cato, she has published several non-series detective stories. Both Cato and Martin are also pen names for Walton. (Walton has another pen name as well – Maxine Barry, under which she wrote 14 romance novels.) A native of Oxford, she lives in a village in Oxfordshire.




Murder on the Oxford Canal by Faith Martin.


Murder at the University by Faith Martin


Murder of the Bride by Faith Martin.


Murder in the Village by Faith Martin.


Murder in the Family by Faith Martin.


Murder at Home by Faith Martin.


Murder in the Meadow by Faith Martin.


Murder in the Mansion by Faith Martin.


Murder by Fire by Faith Martin.


Murder at Work by Faith Martin.


Murder Never Retires by Faith Martin.

Some Thursday Readings


Myths and Legends of the London Stone – A London Inheritance.


The Generative Joys of Bookbinding – Jennifer Savran Kelly at The Millions.

How Subplots and Plot Filaments Lend Texture and Depth to Any Novel – Michael Craft at CrimeReads.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

"From Western Virginia with Jackson to Spotsyvania with Lee” by Peter Luebke

St. Joseph Tucker Randolph was 17 when the Civil War began in April 1861. He did what most young Virginians did and immediately signed up with a newly formed regiment. For a time, he participated in drills and preparations, but he also had time to continue working in the bookstore operated by his father. 

The Randolphs had a storied heritage, one of Virginia’s first families with the Lees, Carters, and Tuckers. By the time of the Civil War, however, they had fallen on harder times, operating stores and other middle-class endeavors. Perhaps it was the influence of his father’s bookstore, or his own solid education, but Tucker, as he was called in the family, began keeping a diary from April 9 through about 1863. He also wrote letters to his parents and other family letters, and he showed himself a fairly astute observer of military operations, battles, officers, and his fellow soldiers.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.