Signatures of the Heart

Carley Short

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 123 Price: (paperback) $56.09 ISBN: 9781493192793 Reviewed: May, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

The 123 poems in Carley Short’s collection, each printed on a glossy page and many paired with colorful photographs of flowers, offer predominantly light religious verse and sentimental artifacts from the writer’s life. These poems and messages include both free verse and simple rhyme schemes, expressing familiar sentiments rather than fresh insights concerning the nature of familial and spiritual love.

Many poems contain highly personalized messages, such as “Ode to Nathan,” which describes a newborn coming into the world and ends with: Dear Nathan/ A prayer…that God will make you in your prime/ a sturdy oak tree, Blessing your Mum and Dad./ Nana and Grand Dad and big Sister./ Love/ Carley. Nahum 1.7”

Others offer a more generalized ethos and style. “What is a ‘Christian’?” for example, notes: “As Christians we desire to handle ourselves,/ Walk the walk, talk the talk, in tough and good times./ As Christians we love neighbours, and beyond,/ Going to the ends of the earth.”

Rather than displaying a narrative arc or thematic progression, many poems seem to express the same essential feelings and experiences. A poem from the middle of the book exhorts: “Zachy love, prepare, prepare./ Things will be tough, but don’t despair.” Later poems echo the same l note: “Pluck and spunk: for the hard times/ Spirit: for the quiet times,/ Hope: for the future times…”

While this writing does not possess strong literary merit, the collection is lovingly produced and will no doubt be a welcome gift to those mentioned by name in the poems relaying birthday, graduation, and other special occasion messages. The general religious verse included here may also appeal to some readers of light, Christian, and inspirational verse. (Note: in order to be more marketable, the latter should be separated from the most personal and idiosyncratic messages contained in this title.)

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