Book Report: The Way by Salesian Missions (1983)

Book coverI got three of these little Salesian Missions poetry collections a year ago at the Friends of the Library Book Sale, and this is the first of them that I’ve found to read. Actually, I had it on the lamp table beside the sofa upstairs which became a minor book accumulation point after last summer’s vacation, where I carried the habit of lying on the sofa reading a book home. But a couple of collections of poetry (including this one) lingered there since autumn or winter as I’ve started a new tradition of reading a magazine in the chair in the bedroom as the final step-down to bedtime.

This book was a free giveaway to potential supporters in mail campaigns in the 1980s. I remember that one or more of them passed through our household, although I am not sure whether my sainted mother would have given money to them. After all, Salesian Missions is a Catholic charity; perhaps they had my father’s name on the envelope, as he was nominally Catholic.

This volume is 32 pages of grandmother poetry focusing on religious themes, but generic Christian religious themes–you get Jesus and you get God, but no Mary. The small pages are akin to Ideals magazine, with the poems set on pages surrounded by illustrations of homey and old-timey scenes and landscapes. Basically, the target crowd overlapped a lot with people who would subscribe to Ideals. They’re poems, too, not prayers; some are addressed to God, but most of them talk about God instead. Quality varies from meh to okay, but really, this is everyday poetry, the kind that people who were not academic poets or kept by patrons wrote. Normal people. I mean, jeez Louise, my father wrote poetry not unlike this. So it’s not designed to be profound, meaningful, or obscure to differentiate the Poet from the Rubes without advanced degrees in literature. So it was nice, and a quick read, and I suppose it could fit into one’s daily devotions if one were so inclined.

At any rate, it was a quick read, which I needed as I’ve been reading large tomes lately. And I kind of look forward to the little respites (and the incrementing of the annual blog total).

You know, I wish some of the charities wishing to entice me today would send out little books of poems. I get a lot of come-ons from Catholic charities (but not Salesian Missions) as a subscriber to First Things, Touchstones, and maybe The New Oxford Review. I get a lot of address labels, a couple of notepads, a coin from time to time, and a pin once, but no poetry. I guess the middle class of potential donors has moved on from reading for the most part, more’s the pity.

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