In this short book of poems, Elmer S. Binion celebrates love, faith and God. A devoted family man, Binion worked for years as a mechanic on the electric trolley and diesel buses in Dayton, Ohio until his retirement in 1991. His poetry is rooted in simple devotion, and his verses attempt to capture the spiritual power of memory viewed through the eyes of a grateful spirit. Poems like “Every Now and Again” and “Why People Come and People Go?” seek to honor the people in our lives, reminding us to be aware of the gift of life around us. “To Our Heavenly Father,” which talks about his own father who passed away in 1996 and ends with a childlike refrain, “I wish you could have seen and met my Dad,” authentically captures the sentiment of everyday emotion.
Unfortunately, the book is in need of a good editor, and while the author’s aim is direct–he wants to inspire us to slow down and be thankful for a world we sometimes, in our own urgencies, fail to see–his execution misses the target. Many of the poems lack basic structure and grammar. This, along with a number of typographical errors, all of which a skilled copyeditor would have caught immediately, inevitably leads to some confusion and detracts from what could have been a fine book of blessing poems for a church or congregation.
All in all, OH, the Lovely Words I Have Heard is well intentioned, and Binion seems to have a heart of gold. His humility and love for God and family rings forth. With some revisions and rethinking, this book could have greater resonance.