Willi Fischer Jed’s Blessings, Tears and a Chuckle or Two delivers on the promise of its title, providing the reader with poems of inspiration, generosity, comfort and humor that tweak not only the noses of her neighbors and friends but herself as well. Jed accomplishes this with a light use of those often difficult tools of the poet’s trade: rhyme and meter.
The third sonnet in a series titled, “Sonnets 3,” begins, “Beneath my bonnet lives no sonnet, / Though, heav’n knows I’ll try to slip something by—“ And slip something by she indeed does: a clever, self-mocking sonnet about how she just can’t write a sonnet: “A sonnet! A sonnet! Can’t write one, doggonit!”
A little further into the book and we are treated to “The Teensy Man Who Wasn’t There,” in which Jed describes that little gremlin who sneaks around the house doing all those things that we get blamed for: “He drops my bath towels on the floor, / And spills my milk, and slams the door…”
While Jed often employs the successful use of humor, her work can suffer from an overly sing-song and predictable use of rhyme (“It’s time for chimes and bells that ring;/ It’s time for snow and happy things.”) There are also quite a few places where the author falls back on cliches and mawkish sentiment. In one poem, for example, tears are “like Tiny Diamonds” that are “purchased with Pain / and Loss.” Those tears are “formed by / the Fire of the Soul.” Elsewhere, one poem ends, “And, most of all, my dearest Friend, / Thanks for being you!”
It would be a pleasure to see another book from Jed that pruned the deadwood of cliché and cleared away the underbrush of well-worn platitude, leaving only the strengths she displays in the best of her work.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.