Life: A Selection of Short Poems
by Stephanie Brown
illustrated by Mark Ruben Abacajan

"Our home is in heaven,
We are your ambassadors,
So let us consider you,
So that your light may shine through us to others..."

This short book of poems, with accompanying illustrations, draws the reader into an abundant garden filled with praise and worship toward God. Poem content ranges from references to Old Testament accounts of creation and giving of the Ten Commandments to concepts and events of the New Testament. A two-stanza poem, "Majesty," links the unfathomable Creator of the stars with a man born on Earth… the poet calling this "a delightful mystery." Another poem, "A mere thank you for that bloodied cross," attests to Brown's personal investment in the gospel descriptions of the life and death of Jesus.

The skillful use of repetition helps focus on points the poet wishes to make. In "Guidance," we are repeatedly instructed to "read the word" in order to make our way clear. Another poem, "Nearer the end," emphasizes four times that the end is "not yet." Anthropomorphic qualities have been attributed in the following examples: the clock ticks and time slows; grace pursues the reader. While attention has been given to rhyme and meter, Brown's first priority is clearly the content.

This collection of psalm-like poems exemplifies the attitude David expressed in Psalm 26:7 of the Bible: "That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving and tell all (your) wondrous works." Due to the prayerful quality of this book, analysis of poetic strategies seems a bit irreverent… like chattering when entering a church service that has already begun. The book is one that faith-filled readers can use as a devotional, each person at their own level. All readers can best interpret the poems from the perspective of personal experience.

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