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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Glimpsing Glory

Poet, writer, editor, and publisher Catherine Lawton’s second book of poems, Glimpsing Glory, shows a love of God and appreciation for nature, rhyme, contemplation, and prayer.

As the daughter of a pastor, she learned to adjust to new surroundings in a series of moves and, as a wife and mother, enjoyed family outings in natural terrains – all of which can be glimpsed in the poems she writes. In other genres, her articles, stories, and books saw publication, and now, as the editor and publisher of Cladach Publishing, she publishes works by other poets and writers, including my book of poems and contemporary psalms, PRAISE!

In organizing her new book Glimpsing Glory, which Cathy kindly sent me to review, she divided her poems and prayers into seven sections: Relating, Communing, Trusting, Living, Dying, Praying, and Word-Playing – each of which offers some glimpse of glory.

To clarify her theme, she poses the question, “What do I mean by ‘glory’?” in the first line of the first poem with the poem itself a response. For instance:

The Shekinah glory filled the temple.
Our bodies are temples.

The next poem, “Spaces Between,” gives a glimpse of the “God-centered contemplative life” the poet seeks for herself while inviting readers to stop and notice:

The spaces between things seem
to take on lives of their own.

In “The Stars Sing,” the poet pauses to take in the sweep of night sky, which she describes:

Like music engraved, blazoned across the sky,
notes – not in lined scores or measures,
but in splashes of compositions ears and eyes
aren’t attuned to hear or decipher.

Not with physical ears do I hear the music
of stars singing out from night pavilion,
graced by the moon, echoed by bugling elk,
crooning owls and sibilant wind.

The poems continue to observe and encourage observation. For instance, in “Nature Doesn’t Lie,” the poet counsels readers:

Be present to a flower, tree, or pond;
it will gradually
be present
to you in truth.

Truth comes into focus again in the poetic prayer “Wholeness and Peace,” which begins:

Lord, I don’t want to live out of
a place formed by other people’s
brokenness, false words spoken
over me, lies internalized, nor fears.

Then goes on to say:

Speak Truth in this awakened  place.
I open doors, windows, pull down
storm shutters, plank by plank,
that your Light may stream in.

May we, too, be called to Glory!

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