Payday Blues reflects the experiences, imagination, and worldview of 101-year-old Marian Kiler Hall. The poems in this collection follow simple rhyme schemes and express familiar sentiments rather than new insights.
“For You” serves as a representative example of the poet’s ethos and style: “Riches I do not have/ In silver nor in gold,/ But if you gain the feeling/ For the beauty you behold […] You may lift on high your heart/ And let your soul expand,/ The richness of your Father’s world/ Is ever at your hand.”
These poems are best characterized as greeting card verse and include a mix of subjects, ranging from nature to love and family to evangelical verse, with no set narrative progression. The book begins with a whimsical sea ballad called “Captain of the Lilly Belle” and ends with a patriotic ode called “We, the People.” A stronger organizational framework would help readers navigate the material more easily.
Poems veer between work that lacks enough rich, specific details to capture a sophisticated reader’s interest and those about extremely specific occasions that, by contrast, exclude a wider reading audience. For instance, in “Our Wedding,” the language remains too generic to evoke a particular loving couple: “Love light is shining in your eyes,/ Smiles are brightening your face./ Look around you—it is true—/ Our wedding we now celebrate.” On the other hand, in “Celebration,” the speaker writes far too specifically: “This anniversary is your first/ As pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church./ You are the leader guided by/ The Holy Spirit’s mission; / We are the followers who do/ Whatever you commission.” The poem reads more as private correspondence, relevant only to the community at Lighthouse Baptist Church.
While these pieces aren’t for those who crave literary poetry, they convey a sincerity and sweetness that some may appreciate, particularly habitual readers of the inspirational, religious, and self-help genres.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.