A Penny for Your Thoughts by Penny Johnson is a short collection of poems about the author’s faith in God and Jesus, her family, and nature as God’s gift.
Johnson’s poems are short, rhyming pieces with homey images and messages of positivity. The most distinctive work is “A Love Song,” about the narrator’s husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Here, Johnson compares the disease to a tantalizing mistress who has stolen the speaker’s husband away. It contains the questioning lines: “…When did/ she steal you away/ Was it midnight or on a sunny day// Did she wear red satin or black lace/ I knew she had you by the look on your face.”
Unfortunately, most of the other poems, while earnest, are replete with clichéd imagery and simplistic statements. For example, “A Jewel,” a cheerful ode to the speaker’s granddaughter, ends: “A jewel is what she is/ Priceless like a pearl/ Yes, a pearl/ My little girl.”
Discussing a willow tree in the midst of a storm, “IRON WILL” offers this well-worn comment: “The weeping willow tree may bend/ but it will not break.”
And “America” overlooks the current divisions over immigration in this country for superficial thoughts: “From North to South East to West/ American [sic] has a right to boast from coast to coast/ It embraces all who want to be free/ Come and see/ American [sic] stands for God’s given liberty.”
The poems also contain numerous typos and missing periods, making for puzzling reading from time to time (as in: “A Mother’s verse and rhyme/ is about love everytime, she is a Rose/ Nursery school children will tell of their puppy or cat they are Babies Breath/ and that’s that.”)
A Penny for Your Thoughts celebrates this author’s life and religion, and other Christian readers who enjoy Hallmark-style poems may appreciate its offerings. However, it lacks the polish and originality that would satisfy a broader audience.
Also available as an ebook.