Poems to Lift You Up and Make You Smile
Compiled by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, Editor of Your Daily Poem
100 Poems with contributor biographies
Price: $18.95
Format: 6” x 9” Perfect Bound
Publisher: Parson’s Porch Books
ISBN: 978-1-955581-09-7
To Order: www.ParsonsPorch.com

Reviewed by Michael Escoubas

In an age of Covid-19, Poems to Lift You Up and Make You Smile, takes on special
significance. This anthology is needed now, as never before. However, before
sinking too deeply into the pandemic season to justify the worth of poetry, it is im-
portant to remember that there has always been something that, as a people, we
want and need to put behind us. The collective calling of poets in any age, is to tell
the truth, sometimes with a bit of an edge, but always, in this writer’s mind, with a
view toward finding the best in people and illuminating the path to hope.

This has been Jayne Jaudon Ferrer’s enduring passion for the last 11 years as
editor of Your Daily Poem. YDP is a valued destination for some of the best-
known poets in the country. Yet, Jayne is known for her welcoming spirit to new
poets as well. She has a sharp eye for poets on-the-rise and gives many their first
significant exposure. Moreover, Jayne’s single-minded goal has been “to share the
pleasures of poetry with those who may not have had the opportunity to develop
an appreciation for that genre.”

All of this is reflected in Poems and therein lies its appeal. The careful selection of
100 poems, chosen from an archive just shy of 4,000 poems, does exactly what the
title says.

As one might expect, the work is comprised of two divisions:
“Poems to Lift You Up” and “Poems to Make You Smile.”

Poems to Lift You Up

Kevin Arnold’s “One True Song,” reminds me that, in a world that values big
achievements, it may be the simple things that count the most:

        Our simple acts may be the warp and weft
        Of the substance of our lives, what is left

        Beyond the gifts and wills, the trusts and estates
        After our belles lettres or plein air landscapes

        What if our day-to-day actions, in the long slog
        Of life are our lasting legacy, our true song?

Arnold’s deft use of couplet rhyme and understated style draws me in, lifts me up.

“Life Lines,” by Randy Cadenhead, contains much of the sage advice I grew up
hearing, these excerpts draw back the curtain on the kind of person this reviewer is
striving to become:

        Walk where you have never been
        and wonder at the beauty of the world.
        Be moderate in all things,
        except goodness.
        for a book can change your life.
        Listen to the music
        you can find in silence.

What strikes me as important about this anthology is the role poetry can play in
our everyday lives. The above noted poem, and so many others, remind us that we
are neighbors, that we share common challenges, that we are united in our suffer-
ings and in our joys.

Phyllis Beckman’s “I Am, for the Time, Being,” illustrates the point:

        This morning I was musing when
        This feeling came along
        Reminding me I’m comfy, that
        I feel like I belong.

        So glad I’m not so worried
        About what’s next to be
        That I miss the present “now”
        That life has offered me

        When all these special moments
        Are noticed one by one
        The richness of just living
        Can bubble up in fun

        So thank you to the giver
        Who urges me to take
        My time, though it is fleeing,
        A mindful life to make!

        I am, for the time, being.

Beckman’s judicious use of commas made me slow down, caused me to think
carefully about the poem’s underlying meaning. It’s what good poets do.

Poems That Make You Smile

I was already smiling as I reached Poems’ transitional mid-point! There’s just
something about being “lifted” that feels good.

Let’s lead-off with a poem about America’s pastime, Carol Amato’s “Baseball in
Connecticut.” This well-crafted visual poem is about a player at the plate wielding
a bat that “was never kid-sized.” This is a can’t miss delight with an unusual end-

Michael Estabrook’s poem “Laughter,” is for anyone who, in their twilight years,
doesn’t want to be a bother to their children:

        My mother called today
        wants to pay for her funeral
        in advance “so you boys don’t have
        to worry about it.”
        But I’m not sure how
        one does that, who do you pay
        after all she may live
        another 15 years so I say
        just write me a check you can trust me
        $20,000 ought to cover it.
        Been a long time
        since I’ve heard her laugh so hard.

Estabrook’s conciseness, clarity, and studied restraint is a good example of a poet
picking up on how funny life can be. I’m certain there was a measure of serious-
ness that prompted Michael’s mother to phone him with her heart’s concern; but it
is poetry that elevates it to the level of art.

This collection is sheer delight, bringing out the best in people and in life, illumi-
nating the path of love and hope.

As a sidenote, Poems to Lift You Up and Make You Smile, is not a money-maker
for the editor. A significant portion of sales revenue is earmarked for Parson’s
, a food, ministry program that provides bread and milk on a weekly basis
for those in need. Sometimes a lift and a smile is all a person needs to make life
worth living. Yes, yes indeed.


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