#Bookreview – My Vibrating Vertebrae and other poems by Agnes Mae Graham

Agnes Mae Graham

What Amazon says

We all have dreams, loves and hopes; but what if you are a girl growing up in 20th century Northern Ireland before, during and after the ‘Troubles’?
From the poetic thoughts of our Mother, we get a sense of what it was like, ranging from humour, sadness, wistful thinking and sometimes just downright nonsensical, these are the words of one such girl.

My review

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.

Another Amazon review

A verified purchaser rated this book five stars out of five and said:

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.

Purchase My Vibrating Vertebrae and other poems here:


Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town

56 thoughts on “#Bookreview – My Vibrating Vertebrae and other poems by Agnes Mae Graham

  1. Sounds like an interesting books of poems with an interesting perspective. My husband grew up in Belfast and came to Australia to escape the “troubles”. That was lucky for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for this mindful review, Robbie. It’s rare for me to sit down with an entire book of poetry. But I have this one and it’s wonderful. Knowing the context of the writing and compiling of this collection makes it a story in my mind. Each poem builds on the story. Hugs to you and to Chris.

    Liked by 2 people

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