These beautifully crafted pieces are not "religious poems" in the usual sense. As Jellema explains, "These poems individually are not spiritual message-bearers. Still, it is inevitable that my belief in a beautiful world that is broken and divinely redeemed -- though I am not preaching about it -- should be evident throughout." And it is, as Jellema takes a second, deeper look at such things as green beans in all their glory, a lovesick lonely young man in a Laundromat, and his own sense of the world while snorkeling in the Red Sea.
"The Poems of Rowan Williams" gathers together the best pieces from the Archbishop's two previous collections, "After Silent Centuries" (1994) and "Remembering Jerusalem" (2001), together with several new works. These powerful, moving meditations are for everyone, religious and nonreligious alike. Archbishop Williams speaks from the crucible of faith, yet his words emerge from the universal experience of life. As Williams himself says: "I dislike the idea of being a religious poet. I would prefer to be a poet for whom religious things mattered intensely."
The subject matter of these sixty-five poems ranges broadly -- the natural world, works of art, recollections of a visit to the Holy Land at Easter, thoughts arising from fragments of the ancient Celtic world, a modern Welsh scene, a group of thin girls awaiting at a bus stop. A particularly poignant group of poems captures Williams's reflections on death, arising first from his feelings of grief at the loss of loved ones (including his father and mother) and widening to include the last days of Tolstoy, Nietzsche in his madness, Rilke, Simone Weil, and Thomas Merton. There are also some free translations -- three well-known poems by Rilke and nine works by Welsh poets -- in which Williams succeeds marvelously in conveying the imagery and energy of the originals.
Williams's pen is lean and lyrical. His vision is penetrating andwise. More, his treatment of his subjects never fails to render them in suggestive, very often redemptive, ways. Readers from all walks of life with come to cherish this lovely collection of verse.
In this elegant volume Marilyn Chandler McEntyre asks these very questions, and she teases out intriguing possibilities in twenty poems arranged side by side with color reproductions of the paintings that inspired them. McEntyre has chosen eighteen of Vermeer's famous women -- including The Lacemaker, The Milkmaid, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and The Girl with a Red Hat -- to wonder about.
Rich with imagined detail, these poems each invite the reader to take a closer look at Vermeer's portraits, to celebrate not only Vermeer's artistry but also the significance of the women themselves. McEntyre thoughtfully imagines the personal lives of these women and attempts to capture what Vermeer himself saw in them -- a contemplative exercise that illuminates the presence of grace in the ordinary moments of life.
A wonderful blend of art and poetry, this volume offers a unique aesthetic experience for personal reflection.