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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Why Would God Do A Thing LikeThat?
By Mariane Holbrook


A year of deprivation was the year of ’35.
Our parents did the best they could, just so that we’d survive.
Thick cardboard soles were in our shoes, our clothes were handed down;
The Great Depression hit the world; it wasn’t just our town.

Our daddy’s job was not enough to even pay the bills.
His work there on the railroad yard was way beneath his skills.
The summer heat, the winter’s blasts, took such a toll on him
That from our vantage point we felt his future must look dim.

But Daddy was a man of God, a man who loved to pray.
All seven children knelt with him and never missed a day.
There were so many Scripture verses that our daddy knew,
If asked about a verse, he’d quote the ones around it, too.

One day our Mother told him all the bills were overdue;
Unless they paid the mortgage then we’d all be moving, too.
The hardest part for them was that their tithe could not be met,
And this would be the thing that our dear dad would most regret.

They settled on a plan they thought would help in some small way;
They’d donate half their garden to the preacher for his pay.
Dad measured out the garden, half for us and half for God;
We thought it made a lot of sense, but neighbors just guffawed.

Each evening Dad would hoe the weeds, and water each row, too.
This was a pact ‘tween him and God and something he must do.
The plants were thriving, ‘til one day when Dad came home from work,
His neighbor met him and was wearing one big, awful smirk.

“Come look at how God’s half is doing, then look there at yours.
It’s shriveled up and died, and all the while God’s half matures.”
Dad called a family conference and we all agreed to stand
And honor God with food tithes from our garden just as planned.

Each day we picked the veggies from the side that was the Lord’s.
We never thought of making points or getting some rewards.
We carried several bags each night right to the preacher’s door.
He thanked us so profusely that we wished we’d brought some more.

But mom began to worry how she’d feed us kids and dad.
We’d always had a garden but now things were looking bad.
But Daddy kept insisting God had never let us down,
And all this time our garden had dried up and turned quite brown.

Then things began to happen that would prove God loves his own;
At night some friends would bring us things that they themselves had grown.
Without a sound they’d pile the bags right there by our front door.
They brought so many beans and corn they covered up the floor!

The preacher’s garden kept on growing ‘til it was quite clear
They’d have enough to can and feed their family for a year!
And neighbors shared so much with us it made our heads just spin,
For Mother canned 200 quarts, more than there’d ever been.

Dear children of the most high God, when things look black as night
And all the things you’ve planned for seem to disappear from sight.
Stand firm in your belief that God will surely see you through,
For He will part the darkness so His love can shine on you.

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This article has been read 1203 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld03/06/08
You really capture the era of the Great Depression. The rhyme and meter are flawless. I especially liked your rhyme of God and guffawed.
I would have liked to have seen a stronger connection between your title and the content of the poem, though it certainly answers the question. Perhaps "Darkness Parted?" Something about reaping might seem trite, but would be fitting...
Shirley McClay 03/07/08
I know nothing about poetry but I know I loved this one!! Awesome! Especially loved the last stanza.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/08/08
This poem is a delight--beginning to end. The narrative is fascinating and the last stanza just perfect.
LauraLee Shaw03/11/08
This is masterful. It moved my emotions so much, as I was delighted at the rhyme and meter, and moved by the storyline. Just fabulous in every way I can think of.
Sara Harricharan 03/13/08
Congrats on your EC win, I'm glad I didn't miss this piece. It's a neat glimpse into the depression-and the silver lining, I love it! This was a great story told well with ryhme and character. Awesome writing! ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/13/08
Hooray, my dear friend--2nd in Editor's Choice!
Marilyn Schnepp 03/13/08
Triple Kudos for winning 2nd Place in EC! Congratulations!
Sherry Castelluccio 03/13/08
Wow! This was so awesome. Congrats on your shiny blue ribbon. This was well earned, my friend. Wonderful story, wonderful you.
Sheri Gordon03/13/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is very good, and a perfect illustration of the topic. Great job.
Shelley Ledfors 03/13/08
Absolutely wonderful! I loved this. Congrats on your well deserved EC!
Joy Faire Stewart03/13/08
Oh, I love this entry! One of the best I have seen on FW. Congratulations on your EC.
Joanne Sher 03/13/08
Oh, Marianne, this is absolutely EXCELLENT. No wonder you did so well. You have a gift - and I'm glad you're using it here! Congratulations, my friend!
Joanney Uthe03/13/08
What a wonderful example of God blessing the faithful! What a wonderful legecy your parents left for you and your siblings. Congratulations on your EC. It is well deserved.
Linda Watson Owen03/13/08
Oh, Mariane! What a beautiful, lyrical account of God's faithfulness! No wonder it's a big winner this week! You've written a precious and lovely tribute to a father who must be smiling down from Heaven today just for you, dearheart! Congratulations and write on, friend!
Betty Castleberry03/14/08
This touched me, Mariane. It's so full of truth and compassion. A winner for sure. Congratulations!
K. J. Cash03/14/08
I needed this today. I bet there are many in a similar situation right now.

Thank you so much for this inspired work! Congratulations on this EC!!
Helen Dowd03/15/08
Mariane, this was wonderful. I LOVE it. I have read the story you wrote about that, "He Giveth and Giveth and Giveth Again." --I have it on my website, thanks-- but this poem was even BETTER!!! I am glad you won second place.(had I been judge, I would have picked you first.) And as you said in your note to me, it was right down my alley, sounds so much like what my parents went through. I am so glad that you shared this....
God's blessing on you...Helen
Pam Carlson-Hetland03/17/08
Oh, Mariane, my friend, this brought tears to my eyes as I've heard many Great Depression stories within my family. You are so deserving of the 2nd place win in Advanced and also an E.C. Many, many congrats. This is wonderful work!
Karen Wilber03/19/08
Wonderful poem about God's provision and His Kingdom. The miracle of this garden lies in the Holy Spirit leading us to provide for each other. Congrats on EC.
Beth LaBuff 03/20/08
Mariane -- Just wanted to say congrats on your placing with this!! My Grandmother told me many stories of living through the depression and living off their garden and of even eating dandylion greens. This brought back so many memories. Thank you!