A Tribute to My Son

Samina Muhammad

Publisher: AuthorHouse Pages: 244 Price: (paperback) $68.66 ISBN: 9781524676889 Reviewed: September, 2017 Author Website: Visit »

This poetry collection written by a grieving mother reflects upon the emotional struggles of the poet-speaker and her quest for peace in her heart and within the larger world.

The book is comprised of three sections of poetry followed by a fourth of short prose. In the first, “A Tribute to My Son,” Samina Muhammad deeply mourns the loss of her child, who suffered from Duchanne Muscular Dystrophy, according to an author’s note at book’s end. “Scenes that used to make me smile,/ why they clinch my heart now./ Whenever someone mentions the boy child,/ why my eyes drip now,” she writes in one poem. In another, she speaks to his laudable qualities: “He was kind and considering./ He was polite and forgiving.”

Readers will surely empathize with this brokenhearted mother, but as poetry, the work suffers some common flaws: Its rhymes can seem forced and the meaning convoluted (“It’s not a crime,/ as you haven’t betrayed me./ It is your prime,/ as the patience you had displayed me.”)  The rhyming style also tends to trivialize the subject (“So empty is my lap./ That’s why [sic] can’t have a nap”). Additionally, the poetry lacks vivid visual imagery or precise narrative details that would allow the speaker’s pain to resonate with readers on a visceral level.

These issues are also found in the next two sections (“I Want Love” and “A Call for Peace”), which convey the author’s distress at her life circumstances and evangelical messages explaining the benefits of Islam and Christianity, respectively. Such religious sentiments are echoed in the fourth section of prose, titled “Short Essays.”

This collection is heartfelt and sincere, and features interesting line drawings throughout. But the writing is largely static. Readers will wish for deeper insights and specific details to involve their senses. As a result, the volume will likely have limited appeal beyond the author’s inner circle.

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