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Beloved Spirit: Pathways to Love, Grace and Mercy Hardcover – September 11, 2011
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In a timeless place of no hour or land,
Where the soul is free to seek soaring dreams,
The heart will know the true secret of life--
To steer love to others by gracious means.
Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave
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The poet Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave is a spiritual optimist. After the trials and tribulations of daily life, she writes, "On a night when the course/of life is run,/And the heart and the light at last entwine,/ the beauty of all the world/now unfolds/in breathless grace/ only faith may define." At that moment, planets "halt in their path/to receive the noble and sinner/ as one;/the truth of a fortune,/dismal or fine,/matters not when Heaven's/kindness is won."
This is the narrative of Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave's third and latest book of verses,"Beloved Spirit: Pathways to Love, Grace, and Mercy" (New York: Glitterati). Life on this earth is a hazardous journey full of injustice and suffering, but it will end, just as each day fades into night. The book's eight chapter headings in fact span the time cycle from Before Dawn to Midnight. We have little control over what the day brings, but how we live it will shape the night that awaits us.
A life of love and grace, of courage and humanity, avoiding vengeance "lest it strike the heart,/leaving sorrow, destruction, love torn apart," is a sure path to "mercy," by which she means forgiveness -- which "brings peace/ at the end of the quest."
The use of day and night in devotional literature is, of course, not new. In the Middle Ages books of the hour with specific prayers for certain hours of the day were popular. And the Angelus, a devotion to the Virgin Mary recited in the early morning, at noon, and at sunset, reflects the passing of time towards eternity. The poetry of "Beloved Spirit" is fundamentally different: it is deeply devotional but only incidentally religious. The poet has created "sounds and sweet airs" (to borrow from Shakespeare) that comfort, console and encourage. God does get one specific mention in the collection, but it is the reader's God, not one imposed by the poet - "Encircle the globe on a rush of joy,/ Ride on, ride on with God's love to enjoy."
Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave's poetry is fluid, soothing, rooted in classical ideas of meter, with none of what the verse dramatist Christopher Fry once referred to as "chopped prose." Here's an example from the poem entitled Courage: "Humility and wisdom come with time,/ Waste not days searching for reason or rhyme./ Spend each born moment in thoughtful pursuit/ Of kindness, understanding, fine repute." The graphics, taken from one of the most famous illustrated Persian manuscripts compliment the book's quiet intensity.
Seen in the context of her earlier books - "Healing Light: Thirty Messages of Love, Hope and Courage," and "Heavenly Order: Twenty-five Meditations of Wisdom and Harmony" this new work shows her to be, to borrow Ezra Pound's phrase about T.S. Eliot, a "miglior fabbro" - a better craftsman. But her craftsmanship would be hollow without her passion and sincerity.
Nemir A. Kirdar
Executive Chairman & CEO, Investcorp