Friday, May 11, 2012

Feature Friday: Tender Mercies

Tender Mercies is a book by Mark Stratton, a blogger who writes at Aggaspletch.  This book contains Mark's first collection of poetry. Mark says the reason the poems ended up in Tender Mercies is because "....As they were being written, they said they belonged together. "

The poems were written within a period of about two months. Unlike other volumes of poetry which focus on one theme or one direction, Tender Mercies explores life as a whole. It pushes back the curtain on life at its lower ebbs in Tender Mercy #13.

"Living in a depression, basting in the blues, 
Searching for caution in caustic waters 
Living in regression, bankruptcy court blues
pleading for redemption Don't gimme no I.O.U...."

Tender Mercy #19 and 20 pick at the futility of regret.
"....Yesterday is fairy dust in a 
pocket, overshadowing the now
Blinding all to the presents of
                              the ahead

Regrets, I live them
Breaking shoulders
with the       weight
of going nowhere

             Hoarse grackles chittering
             On sullen ropes"

Tender Mercy #18 remembers the freedom of being a child with no worries or cares.

"...of itchy scratchy places and 
we didn't seem to mind it so
much when we had summers
as a kid now did we?"

From Tender Mercy #1A all the way to Tender Mercy #28D, Mark Stratton uses words beautifully. Even when he purports to have '...misplaced my words, I kept them in the lee of a tow sail..." He throws in phrases which repeat in your head long after you have read them. 

"...The airbrushed memories Fade as they dry..."


"The Cowboy Rides through invisible societies
He is recognized yet barely acknowledged..."

The words in Tender Mercies come alive to the reader. They may have been penned to mean one thing, but as they rise up from the page they emerge into what the reader sees. When I read the first few lines of Tender Mercy #6,

"And it came to pass in bonded black leather 
frayed at the corners soldered with duct tape..."

I immediately saw my old Bible...frayed at the corners, barely hanging together with duct tape... I didn't want to read further- I wanted to sit and contemplate this forgotten image. I knew, as I read further the words would confirm this was not the true meaning of the words...but for a few moments, I chose to read the words over and over again. The words brought a smile to my face.

Tender Mercies by Mark Stratton fits neatly in the book shelf right above my desk. I reach for it from time to time...flip through it...and reread my favorite poems.  If you would like a copy of Tender Mercies you can purchase it from online either at Amazon or at  Createspace.  It can also be downloaded as an e-book. I think it might fit neatly on your bookshelf too, don't you?   


  1. You know, I'm not a big poetry lover, but your review of this book makes me want to read it!

    1. As the writer, that makes me happy. As a poet, the idea of a non-regular reader of poetry wanting to try it out thrills me. That's the idea, to connect with people.

    2. Kate- thanks!! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO YOU!!

  2. Many thanks for this kind review and feature. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    1. It was fun doing the review- finally!! :)

  3. This is an amazing collection of work! Mark and this particular collection has been my go-to read for some time. Awesome to see another who shares my thoughts!

    1. Thanks, Natasha. It's truly wonderful and amazing to know that there are people who enjoy my little poems.


Where do I begin?

(written on March 28th 2018) For someone with so many words...words that just tumble out even when they are not wanted...words that jump h...