In remembrance of my Mum on her birthday.
16 Verified Purchase 5 Star reviews for My Vibrating Verebrae:
These are stories or narrative poetry centered in Ireland written metrically with rhyme. The language flows well. Even when the stories seem dark the author’s heart shines through to light the way. For example, in “Ulster’s Shame”, a dark narrative with “blood stained footpaths and bullet spattered walls” we are not left with “screams” and “terror” but a resolution: “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”
She describes the people around her with kind brevity. The ending of “The Brownie Pack” states her love and humbly leaves it to God whether it is returned.
She describes the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of life. In “Tender to Touch” an old man buys a medicine from her. In his confusion he rubs it on his pained stomach rather than drinking it. Nonetheless, he’s cured and returns to thank her. In sadness, such as “Life!!”, she prays to God not to let the Devil win.
In the “The Lover” and “Kitty and Joe” we see death and love tied closely together and even though death wins in its ever objective way, I sense love redeeming each such victory as its own.
This is a beautiful collection of very short stories or narrative poems that, perhaps because of their brevity, will linger in my mind enriching it. Frank Hubeny (26 January 2018)
I have always loved to read poetry and I do favour well written rhyming poetry as I enjoy the way it flows and how the words roll off your tongue when they are spoken. In my opinion, poetry is meant to be read aloud with passion and expression.
‘My Vibrating Vertebrae’ and other poems is a collection of delightful, rhyming poems that fall into this category. The collection features poems about people discovering inner strength, courage and overcoming adversity as well as delighting in the small pleasures and joys of everyday life in Ireland, before and after the Troubles. Each poem is packaged with sharp wit and an all encompassing humour which highlight the poets uncanny ability to pierce right to the heart of the matter.
I enjoyed each and every poem in this collection with my personal favourites being Ulster’s Shame and The Terror and Tears.
This verse form Ulster’s Shame gave me goosebumps:
“The empty streets, the broken glass,
the vacant car-parks, the crumbling halls.
The smoke spirals on the skyline,
the blood stained footpaths and bullet spattered walls.”
This extract from The Terror and Tears gave me the shivers:
“You, who are on the evildoer’s side,
remember, our God both sees and hears.
The horrors you do, the deaths you cause,
you shall one day know the terror, and shed tears.”
I have always retained five star ratings for poetry for the very famous and great poets like Shakespeare and Chaucer. Rightly or wrongly if feels to me that a collection of poetry would have to attain very heady heights to compete with these amazing works.
Certain of the poems in My Vibrating Vertebrae, however, made a big impression on me and wormed right into my mind and so I am giving this book of poetry a five star rating. Robbie Cheadle (24 January 2018)
Wonderful collection of poetry! Ritu (30 December 2016
A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.
The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”
There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes. And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.
Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own. Sue Vincent (30 October 2016)
I’m so glad I bought this little gem. I say gem because it truly is. The Irish poems will have you bouncing to rhyme inside before you erupt with laughter. My favourites are, Rosie and Willie, Nonsense Rhyme, and The Operation.
I mention the humorous poetry first because they provide a nice balance between the more serious poems that focus upon Ireland’s troubled times that give pause to reflect.
A most excellent and well-balanced presentation. Kevin Cooper (28 October 2016
A beautiful collection of poems. Toriz (05 October 2016)
Christopher Graham has honored his mother’s memory by publishing a collection of verses that she wrote as she grew up, married, and raised her children in Northern Ireland during the 20th century.
Agnes Mae Graham had a natural, sly (but always good-natured) wit, as well as the instinct for catching details that give the reader an enjoyable and incisive picture of the people and places she encountered. Some of the poems bewail the tragedy of the sectarian conflict of that age in Northern Ireland, but she had a large sense of humor, which she exercises with great charm. (The suggestion of Irish dialect in the poems adds to the pleasure.) I could give many examples, but I’ll end with one quotation, from ”Woolcos,” where she engages in praise of her job, her coworkers, and her bosses in that discount store.
It ends thus: “Godspeed to all my workmates, / To our dishy bosses great praise. / Perhaps, just perhaps, this poem of joy, / will get us all (yes, all) a raise.” I hope she got it!
An entertaining quick read that I heartily recommend. Termite Writer (24th September 2016)
‘My Vibrating Vertebrae‘ is an enjoyable mix of poetry that shows the wide range of this talented author, mother of Chris Graham, aka The Story Reading Ape.
Agnes Mae Graham displays her poetic talent and infectious sense of humor as she writes her prose.
She captures readers with her easy writing style and amusing, heartfelt, and eclectic mix of lovely poetry. I found this to be an enjoyable journey through the eyes and mind of this creative writer.
It is an incredible way to honor one’s mother by publishing her work after her death. Thank you, Chris, for sharing your mother’s legacy and talent. Jjspina (25 August 2016)
A wonderful collection of poems by Agnes Mae Graham, saved and published by her children C. Graham and L. J. Baker as a tribute to her mother. I read this book over a weekend. Many of the poems are playfully clever, a clear sign of Ms. Graham’s robust sense of humor. She even titled one “Nonsense Rhyme.” Yet she also writes poignantly about her love of home and family, and the trials of life including a beautiful piece about the war “The Terror and The Tears.” The poems stand on their own, but they also provide a sweet glimpse of the poet and her life. A great read. Diana (14 September 2016)
‘My Vibrating Vertebrae’ is a delightful book of poetry, comprising the works of Agnes Mae Graham and gathered and published posthumously by her two children.
As stated in the dedication, the poems span decades of Agnes’ life in 20th Century Northern Ireland, offering a flavor of Irish dialect as she puts to paper her loves, hopes, and dreams.
Two of my favorites are Nonsense Rhyme and The Women’s Rural. I can well imagine Nonsense Rhyme being read to a child who, perhaps not understanding all the words, would burst into giggles at the ending. And as I read The Women’s Rural, I delighted in the feeling of sisterhood and community it conveyed, a sorely needed phenomenon in our contemporary western society.
How Agnes must have been dearly loved by her children, Lorna and Chris, for them not only to have kept her poetry, but then to have braved the waves of indie publishing to make sure their mother had a voice in the world.
More than reading Agnes’ spirited words, I was deeply touched by the love shared between a mother and her children. I am grateful that Chris and Lorna chose to share Agnes Mae Graham with the world. Tina Frisco (20 August 2016)
I purchased this book, not knowing what to expect. I’m so glad I bought it. And I couldn’t agree more with what all of the previous reviewers said about Agnes Mae Graham’s work of poetry. Indeed, it was poignant, funny, and compassionate.
Agnes Mae’s son and daughter (Christopher and Lorna) helped bring to life their “mums” story of years gone by.
Each poem touched me. Either I chuckled, howled with laughter or I was constantly mopping up tears. This hilarious and heartwarming collection of poems by the late, great, Agnes Mae Graham is poetry I’ll read again and again. Tracy Campbell (21 July 2016)
I’m usually no big fan of poetry. I bought this book because a friend told me it was something I might like — knowing my warped sense of humor. Well, she was right. I loved it. And to me, every poem was like a very short story. They all had a beginning, middle, and end. They were great!!!
Also, Ms. Graham had one hell of a sense of humor, or humour, as she would spell it. This was quite a find indeed. I bought this book through Amazon.com Andrew Joyce (10 July 2016)
Received the book yesterday and enjoyed reading this collection immensely! Agnes Mae Graham’s personality–funny, compassionate, wise–shines through her words.
She brings you into her world with sweet poems of her workplace and colleagues (and “dishy bosses”), and the social get-togethers of her women’s group. Poems Rosie and Willie, Tender to Touch, and The Operation had me laughing out loud, while Kitty and Joe made me sad with its tale of young lovers split by the divide within their national conflict-ridden, and, ultimately, war-torn country. Felt the pride Mrs. Graham felt for her country when I read My Homeland, a poignant poem, painting pretty pictures of Ireland’s “forty shades of green” seen in the summer light. Then, with Ulster’s Shame – with lines like “What matters is the depths of God’s sighs” – I felt the pain and misery of living in a country undergoing “The Troubles”….Ulster’s Shame evokes images that are hard to imagine, let alone live through.
Mrs. Graham’s book is really a collection of short stories disguised as poems. Either way, they will hit you in your funny bone. And your heart. Emily Gmitter 07 July 2016)
Agnes Mae Graham’s poetry is refreshing, uplifting, funny, and at times deeply moving.
She vividly brings to mind the horror of life during the terror attacks in Ireland in The Terror and the Tears, and also how heartbreaking and lethal it must have been to have to choose sides during those tragic times in Kitty and Joe. Then she moves on to the joys and loves of youth and young motherhood, the awe of first flight, and the love and memories of home and hearth. And for a good old belly laugh she whisks us back to childhoods laughs and tears in Really!
I was given the honour of editing and formatting this book, and from the first smile it gave me I realized what a gem of a collection it was. All about real life, from the bubbliest joys to the darkest despairs, this book of poetry will always be right at the top of my “read more than once, and often” pile. I highly recommend this book to all humans for smiles and introspection both. Jo Robinson (02 July 2016)
Having read several of Agnes Mae Graham’s entries in this book of her collected works, it’s easy to see where blogger extraordinaire Christopher Graham gets his sense of whimsy.
The poetry is very atmospheric and paints a vivid picture of the times. Her words run the gamut from wistful to fun to sad.
You don’t have to be a great lover of poetry (I’m not especially) to enjoy her words. I certainly did.
I am both impressed and enchanted by what I’ve read so far. I can tell that I’ll be equally pleased with the rest. Teagan (02 July 2016)
A most enjoyable read. From the first to the last, I felt as though I had known this woman my whole life. Immediately I was keenly aware that while Agnes was old enough to have been my own mother, I could relate to her life in its various ages.
The passion with which Agnes describes her experiences and those around her seem to spring right off the pages and become cerebral visuals. One can hear the laughter, feel the tears and smell the fragrant energy of a most remarkable existence.
Thank you for giving this book life, I know I will be reading it over and over again. Annette Rochelle Aben (02 July 2016)