A debut collection of poems with a Christian focus explores the ups and downs of life.
Schock’s book features verse written over many years for a variety of people during times of personal tribulation; many were intended for either the author’s sister or a rhetorical sister. In addition to poetry, the book is filled with uncredited black-and-white illustrations and photographs relating to the verse, from statues of Jesus to “Amazing Grace” sheet music to splendid scenes of nature. Visually, the italicized poems are nicely laid out on the pages beneath these images. Most of the pieces are simple, prayerlike meditations with language and sentence structure that harken back to the Bible and other religious texts. Most are constructed of rhyming couplets or ABAB schemes, with the occasional excursion into more complexity. Largely free of striking or unique imagery, the poems tend to repeat metaphors, such as storms or valleys to represent times of travail and mountaintops to symbolize periods of serenity. Schock’s heartfelt pieces describe a loving God who knows humanity’s joys and sorrows, anticipates its wants and needs, and provides strength, guidance, and grace as he leads his followers on their individual journeys. The author also stresses the idea that trials make readers grow and are part of an inscrutable divine plan: “In the valley you are walking, though it may seem dark and dim; / You know the Lord is near you, as you’re reaching out for Him. / He knows each doubt and fear, and sees each tear you cry, / He’s placed angels all around you, to protect as days go by; / He’s walked the road before you and already bore the pain, / You’ll grow through trials you’re facing; you’ll be the one to gain.” One untitled poem is distinctive in that it is a rare departure into free verse and also includes one of Schock’s most exceptional images: “Sometimes when it gets too rough, I just picture the child in me crawling up into my Heavenly Father’s lap.”
A volume of poetry that should appeal to a devout Christian audience seeking spiritual comfort.