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A tribute to Merle Meeter on his passing

By Mike Vanden Bosch

Merle Meeter, who died recently at age 74, taught English at Dordt College from 1962-1978.

Merle Meeter

Merle Meeter

I first met Merle in a cramped locker room on the old Calvin College campus on Franklin Street. He and his cousin Glenn were lifting weights and had invited me to join them for an hour. Merle was a more dedicated lifter than I by a long shot.

Later when we were colleagues in the English department at Dordt College we got to know each other better. I soon learned that Merle, teaching at the college level for several years, had thought more about what it meant to teach English as a Christian than I had by teaching English in high school for ten years.

Former students of Merle recall him as a teacher who pushed them to write with more clarity and grace.

Then already, Merle worked as hard at his pastimes as at his work. Oncea- week volleyball was a joy for him, as well as occasional arm wrestling. But he also found time to write articles as well as poetry. He compiled an anthology of poems still useful to those searching for Christian poems, classic and contemporary (The Country of the Risen King, Baker Book House).

Later in life he pursued arm wrestling with the passion of a professional and competed well for several years with others in his age bracket. He even compiled an Armwrestlers Hall of Fame.

Some former colleagues met Merle in Sioux Center a few years back, along with a few of his children. Proving he had not lost his sense of humor, he regaled us with stories of his wife Gloria and of their children, all of whom had earned B.As, M.As., or Ph.Ds.

Besides his children, I can think of no better tribute to Merle Meeter than two of his poems:

Dissension

How it lances the chest,

Rasps the walls of the stomach:

hacking,

corrosive,

Rash and livid to slash,

Shrill and straining to crush.

Trust in the Lord and His Word

Flung away--wrathful ego rampant,

murderous,

suicidal--

The face of the King on the coin

Of the heart gouged and gashed.

Resurrection Rondeau

Let strident silver trumpets cry

And wind harps shrill with ecstasy,

For boulders burst at God’s decree

When Christ their Molder bowed to die.

The hellish chant of “Crucify!”

Presaged the earthquake jubilee.

Let strident silver trumpets cry

And wind harps shrill with ecstasy.

Dark shrouded shame, crime shattered sky

As grave pods split and dead broke free

To hear the angel minstrelsy

Christ’s resurrection certify.

Let strident silver trumpets cry

And wind harps shrill with ecstasy.