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PRAISE! Poems Paperback – March 30, 2017
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PRAISE! shares poems of praise and prayer from a 'listener' attentive to the Spirit's whisper and an 'observer' of God's shout through His works of creation. ----Elaine Wright Colvin, poet, author, writers consultant
A lyrical celebration of everyday miracles, mystical mysteries, and spiritual introspection. Faith inspires this series of praise poems that sing a song of serenity. Even the Table of Contents reads like a Psalm! ----Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi, poet, author of Fall Tenderly and Poem To Follow
I love the way these poems open new doorways through which I learn to appreciate not just God but also the beauty and diversity of this world that God has gifted us with. ----Christine Sine, author of Return to Our Senses and To Garden With God
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Top customer reviews
The Song of Solomon, one of the earliest love poems, notwithstanding, the poetry of the Bible generally focuses on praise. The reasons for praise are many and varied, but the poetry is largely poetry of praise. Consider the picture of ancient Hebrews reciting poems and singing songs of praise to their God, often in the midst of terrible trials and upheavals.
So it is with Mary Harwell Sayler’s new poetry collection, “Praise.” These poems are not all about thanksgiving, but have a broader reach and purpose. As Sayler says in the introduction, “Praise focuses in Who God is, more than what God does. Praise pours out our love to the Lord.”
The collection of 72 is divided into six parts – praise, prayers, Easter, creation, wonder, and Christmas. And they are indeed a pouring out love for who God is. These aren’t poems about deliverance from trials. The focus is more eternal than transient.
Praise Christ Our Body—
Who holds us together
in cell and membrane,
tissue and blood,
tendon and tears.
Praise Christ Whose Body
each part of us—
an ear, an eye, a knee,
a scalp, a head of hair
with each curl counted.
Praise Christ Who gave
His Body and
welcomes each one of us—
Into the Body of Christ,
To work, to play
and pray together,
to love and forgive,
to worship as One Being
the Lord we adore.
As in this example, Sayler consciously incorporates the title into each poem, and that’s part of her purpose here – creating contemporary psalms. “Instead of titling them with sequential numbers, as later editors had done to identify the biblical Psalms, the first line of each poem became its title and an integral part of its reading,” she says.
Sayler has published more than 2,000 poems in a wide array of publications ranging from magazines and e-zines, anthologies, journals, and church publications. She has five poetry collections, including “Living in the Nature Poem” (2012); “Outside Eden” (2014); “Beach Songs and Wood Chimes” (2014); “Faces in a Crowd” (2016); and “Praise.” She’s written three books on writing, and maintains several blogs, including The Poetry Editor and Poetry.
“Praise” achieves what it sets out to do – its poems individually and collectively pour out love for who God is
They are contemporary, personal psalms that emerge, unforced, from Mary's devotional reflections. Their free form invites the reader to pleasingly experience the often fleeting thoughts of a Believer in God. Her verse is lightly seasoned with occasional alliteration, unforced rhyming, and a rhythm that is pleasing to read aloud. In short, nothing is overdone. Even her careful choices of which words to capitalize invite just the right pause and reflection.
In one, she used the childhood imagery of her father coming home, throwing down his keys, taking off his watch, and emptying his pockets of change. But, pondering what God wants of us, she asks the Father to help her come home to Him, keep watch, put down her keys (preoccupation with things of this life?), and Change. The repetition of terms with a spiritual twist, and "Change," made me smile.
You can read these on her blog, but having this print copy to read, reread, and share is a delight!
The taxi driver poem expresses how we only pay Him interest for the route He takes us on. Through the journey, she says that He takes us to the right place. He protects us from danger in arriving at our final destination.
Mary also tells how God is a tutor. He is not only an instructor, but He trains us through Christ Jesus and His Word. As a coach, she says that He uses the Holy Spirit and the counsel of good friends, who have suffered through the ache of daily living to know Him. The friends show us how to love.
The book has, not only a section about the poet, but a section on how the poems are constructed. The first line of each poem is the poem’s title. Through this collection, Mary wants to encourage the reader to be open and honest in regular meditation times with God.
I recommend the book for those who want to grow into a deeper relationship with God. The book broadens my outlook of God.