Not of this Worldview

Not of this Worldview

Author Richard Briggs
Publisher Sacristy £9.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781789591583

This poetry collection brings together attempts made over thirty years to communicate a perception of what its subtitle calls ‘the kingdom among us,’ as ‘Already here…/ And yet still at hand’ by ‘an Englishman who tried to write it all down’ – as a poem on the Vatican City humbly calls the author. This perception infuses poems exploring the experiences of a theological educator and minister reflecting on the journey of life; places (particularly Italy, USA and Durham) and the preoccupations people have in them; the mundane and the overwhelming; light’s penetration of darkness. An ineffable sense of the present and anticipated Kingdom is held in unstated connections between juxtaposed lines or verses, or in the gentle insistence of rhythm and form as they shape ideas, inviting readers to find searches for God in life and for the meaning of a poem parallel experiences. In Briggs’s best work a prayerful confidence lights his unworldly worldview, as in the conclusion to ‘A Light Psalm’: ‘So shine, Lord, shine . . . Be the headlight on my car/ And a streetlight on my way.’

Reviewed by JOHN MOSS

Poetry

 

Sabbath

Sabbath

Author Nicola Slee
Publisher DLT  £9.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780232533996

‘Sabbath’ looks like a book by a poet about another poet’s poem, but it is far more than that. Slee offers us reflections on the main strands in Wendell Berry’s Sabbath poem ‘I go among the trees and sit still…’ It is not a systematic theological treatise on Sabbath, but an invitation and exploration, following thoughts, feelings, the gifts and threats of setting time aside. Slee explores the necessity and difficulty of fitting Sabbath into our pressured and success-oriented lives, and she offers the painstaking examination of the inner life that you might expect from a poet. Her chapters are complemented by excerpts from her journal, her own poems, questions for reflection and prayers (some very searching), and blank pages for our own notes. In a few places there was more personal information about the author than I wanted, but this does not detract from the vital importance of the message of the book. ‘Sabbath’ won’t help you preach a better sermon but, taken seriously, may help you lead a more integrated, more human and more godly life.

GERTRUD SOLLARS

Poetry, Spirituality