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The US Review | Poetic Parables: Listen with Your Heart

Poetic Parables: Listen with Your Heart
by Alvina Y. Platt-Gregory

book review by Barbara Bamberger Scott

“I am His child and I won’t sit still until I have completed the purpose I’m destined to fill.”

Noted poet Platt-Gregory has assembled an array of Christian-themed views and advice utilizing both rhyme and free verse and aimed at energizing her fellow believers with refreshing new perspectives. She begins with “Become,” a general call to remember that the faithful should strive to become like Jesus because he became a human to show his followers the righteous way. A new year is rushing in as the poet urges readers to “Choose Life and Live”: “When God speaks it’s in surround sound! / Wherever you go you will hear His echo / So share it with others so they can know / How sweet it is to live for Him….”

There are groupings of poems treating with particular themes, such as three works that focus on marriage and the wedding ceremony from a Christian viewpoint. Platt-Gregory’s lively sense of humor emerges in such works as “Loose Pants” (“pants fall down and so will I”) and “Whatever 102,” which turns the usually cynical remark on its head, suggesting that it is “a version of hope” and a sign of one’s acceptance of the Lord’s plan. “Women” are praised as “a powerful force” for God’s purpose. The aging process is explored in two poems, “The Nifty Fifties” and “Birthday at Sixty,” combining the poet’s gift for entertaining phrasing and her ability to convey her religious values through simple, but significant, life events: “The time has come for you to face / That sixty is just another place.” Her works seem to be arrayed to walk the reader gently through the stage of existence, leading to concluding works that speak of the ending of earthly life. In “Born to Die,” she sagely states that “The life we live is the gift we have to give / to God in truth,” while “The Antidote” offers guidance to those facing death, stressing that even in one’s final hours, “before you take your last breath,” it is still possible to confess and ask forgiveness, calling for God’s pure love.

The creator of these deft, delicate, and at times forceful pieces is a recognized language artist who began to consider poetry as a medium at a young age. A schoolteacher by profession, Platt-Gregory has carved time out of what must be a busy life schedule to construct the poetic works that have garnered her the International Poet of Merit Award from the International Society of Poets. Interestingly, several of the segments in this volume are prose entries. These include a brief essay entitled “Time; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,” exhorting readers to make wise choices in their moral and spiritual direction, and “Reason,” which offers her readers the chance to fill in a five-line list of reasons “to praise the Lord.” The collection ends with a numbered section of biblical references and Platt-Gregory’s ten personally devised “Steps to Developing a Spirit of Persistence.” With sincere impetus and an imagination that has allowed her to build on her inspiration for spiritual guidelines posited in poetic expression, Platt-Gregory presents a focus for dynamic group sharing and quiet individual contemplation.

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