The Life and Inspiring Poetry of a Woman from Kansas.

Velma Cochren Priest Terry, daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother (1915-1999).



Lord, watch over our home

and guard our lovely land;

If we stumble along the way

Please hold to our hand.

Give us courage to carry on

and hold freedom's banner high;

Help us to be a shining light

To all who are passing by.

A house divided against itself

Is like a house upon the sand;

It has no firm foundation.

In storms it cannot stand.

Help us to keep faith in you

So bells of freedom can still ring;

Help us to our God be true

And give thanks for everything.

Yes, we are our brother's keeper

So let us stand together;

And hold to that unchanging hand

In these times of stormy weather.

By Velma Dora Terry, April 3, 1983 (c)



He Speaks. Velma Dora Terry (May 9, 1982)

By his spoken word God
Hung the world in space.
He took a little bit of earth
And made the human race.

When he spoke a word
He calmed the troubled sea.
Why is it so hard to believe
He could save you and me?

With his hand he flung
The stars across the sky;
Sprinkled snow on the shoulders
of the mountains high.

At his voice the birds
Everywhere begin to sing;
All he has to do is speak
And he can do anything.

When we see the lightening
Flash across the sky,
Or hear the whisper of the wind
As it is passing by-

Need we worry? Have
Any fear at all?
For we are in his hands
Until that final call.
[Velma shown here with her younger brother George Valjean Cochren ca 1928)


As a Girl in Kansas

Velma called a little hamlet on the plains home: Plevna, Kansas. They lived in a small and simple house. White clapboard for a small struggling family transitioning from a failing agricultural life to the new town-based world of the 20th century. Her father found new work as a janitor in the local school and the family enjoyed being able to be with Father during the school day. One cold winter days Velma, her older sister Elva and their younger brother George Valjean would slip down to the warm boiler room where their father would have hotdogs cooking for their lunch. At home, during the summers or in the evenings, the girls would put on 'plays' and Elva would entertain with her singing and everyone would laugh. The curtain separating the bedroom would the parlor was suddenly transformed by vivid imaginations and patient parental love to a grand stage. Velma once laughed on recounting this and wryly admitted her mother had the patience of a saint to sit through all through "theatricals."


Velma always loved roses of any kind: the gentle, drooping antique variety or the wild and touseled headed shrubs running wild in an untamed yard. She often said she was better at looking at them than growing them and some of her happiest moments were in such settings as bees hummed in the warm air and a gentle breeze caressed the soul.

Valley of Flowers (1995)

Terry, V. Dora and Louis Priest. Valley of Flowers. Lamar, Mo: Grafix Press, 1995. Printing was done by Grafix Express of Lamar, Mo. Graphic work and layout was done by Velma's son, Louis Priest. 47 pg; softbound;staple.
"Author's note: The "Valley of Flowers" is certainly written to describe life. Flowers bloom along the way. One day they bloom bright and rich, the next day, they are wilted and no longer beautiful. Flowers are the story of life, they will bloom forever, always sending us a message to live by."
Two of the poems in this collection were penned by son Louis Priest, "A Rose from Long Ago" and "Bright New Day."
The title was reprinted in March of 1996 and then reprinted once more in September 1996.